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" The History of a Town is united with that of the Country to which it 
belongs, and with that of the ages through which it has stood." 






Introduction. — Sources of this History. — Character of the Town. — 
Value of Town Histories. 

Some account may be expected of the sources from which this 
History has been derived. These are : 

I. The Town Records. These are minute in relation to the 
local, municipal affairs, from the settlement of the town. But 
with the exception of a few pages at the beginning of the first vol- 
ume, and the period of the Revolution, they are singularly barren 
of matters of general or political interest. With the exception of 
a plan of a small portion of the town, presented to the Legislature 

1 " A Historical Sketch of Charlestown," by Josiah Bartlett, M. D., 
was, in 1814, published in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical 
Society (2d Series, vol. ii. pp. 163 — 184) and in pamphlet form. It was 
an Address delivered Nov. 16, 1813, at the dedication of Washington Hall, 
prepared with notes for publication. Though filling but twenty-one 
pages, it contains, especially in the notes, much interesting matter rela- 
tive to the town. It gives, however, but slight notices of the town from 
1634 to 1781. 

In 1830, Hon. Edward Everett delivered a valuable Historical Discourse 
before the Charlestown Lyceum, commemorative of the arrival of Gov. 
Winthrop. It is chiefly a view of the general causes of the settlement of 
Massachusetts, with a short account of the settlement of the town. 

In 1838 copious extracts from the Town Records were printed in the 
Bunker Hill Aurora, understood to have been furnished by William 
Sawyer, Esq. 

These are the only accounts of the Town, of much length, that have 
been printed. 



in 1781, when the latter authorized an important alteration of the 
streets, there is no map of the town previous to 1818. This 
renders it exceedingly difficult to locate, precisely, the residences 
of the first settlers. A plan was probably taken in 1794, which 
cannot be found. 

The original records, prior to 1662, may be found in a volume 
made up of manuscript, some of it bearing date as early as 1593, 1 
and some of it as late as 1767, and bound without regard to mat- 
ter or date. Here may be found memorandums, on loose sheets, 
of selectmen, and town meetings, records of deeds, and of the 
possessions of the inhabitants in 1638. The latter is valuable so 
far as it goes. It does not give the value of the property, and is 
exceedingly loose in description. The original records commence 
with the year 1662, and with few exceptions, are perfect to the 
present day. 

In 1664 the first volume of the records was prepared, perhaps 
mostly from a large volume, frequently referred to but not now 
extant. This volume contains the history of the settlement of this 
town and the neighboring towns, that is quoted by Prince and 
others as a contemporary authority. It was written by John 
Greene, son of the ruling elder of the Church. He collected 
the facts from " known gentlemen that lived and were actors " in 
the events it relates, and read the relation to the selectmen, who 
consented that it should "remain" a part of the records. It occu- 
pies seven pages of the volume. Its traditionary character appears 
upon its face. It certainly cannot be relied upon as to dates. Nor 
can the remainder of this volume be depended upon as an exact 
transcript of the original. The selectmen ordered grants of land 
to be transcribed verbatim, but in " other things," the copyist was 
allowed to use his discretion and skill in reducing them " to the 
most brief and clear language." 

The first volume of the Registry of births, marriages and deaths, 
is not unlike, in character, to the volume of miscellaneous matter 

1 This MS. appears to be a part of a Leger, in which the accounts of 
one of the Guilds, or Trade Corporations of England, were kept Each 
name, generally, has a debit and credit. The following is on the credit 
side of the book : 

" Stephen Woodgate of .Caufoulde in the County of Suffolk Clothier is 
dewe to same this laste of November by Suffolke Clothes fifty and seaven 
poundes for his as journal 2, 57 00 00." 


already described. Its earliest date is 1658 — its latest 1797. 
The leaf at one end of the volume is dated 1663, that at the other 
1720. The middle of the volume contains the following record : — 

" A record of all births, deaths and marriages, that hath been 
in Charlestown since the death of Mr. Thomas Starr who departed 
this life the twentieth day of the eighteenth mo. 1658, herein 
recorded. — pr me Edward Burtt Clerk." 

One side of the sheet on which this is written, contains a descrip- 
tion of the horses shipped from this town in 1664. It was the 
Town Clerk's " Toll Book," wherein he recorded all the ages, col- 
ors, and make, of the horses presented for export. He filled up 
a few pages with these, and then went on with the births, marriages 
and deaths. This volume was bound in 1797. Some of the leaves 
of it are imperfect. 

II. Records of the first Church of this Town. These are origi- 
nal records, and commence with the gathering of the Church in 
1632. The first volume, a quarto of three hundred and eighty- 
six pages, is an interesting and valuable relic of the past. The 
entries in it were made by the ruling elder, John Greene, and the 
successive ministers. It commences as follows : "The Book that 
belongs unto the church of God in Charltowne : which church was 
gathered, and did enter into Church Covenant the 2d day of the 
9th month 1632." It contains records of baptisms, admissions into 
the Church, marriages, Church votes, proceedings against delin- 
quents, and ordinations of pastors and deacons. This volume is very 
minute in detail respecting the proceedings against the Baptists. 1 

III. The Colony Records, the Probate and Registry Records, 
files of newspapers, the various public libraries, and the collection of 
manuscripts at the State House, recently arranged into volumes. 
The latter has supplied many documents of interest and impor- 
tance. These " Massachusetts Archives " constitute an invaluable 
magazine of materials for Town Histories. 

1 A fall and accurate description of this curious volume, with copious 
extracts from its contents, may be found in the American Quarterly Keg- 
ister, vol. xii. pp. 247, 250. Rev. S. Sewall, the author of this 
account, says : — " The records of this Church are, it is believed, the 
only records in existence of any Church in the county of Middlesex 
formed as early as the seventeenth century, which have been kept in reg- 
ular, and (in the main) unbroken series from the beginning, except the 
records of the Church of Lexington, gathered 1696." 


IV. Private collections of papers. Wherever these exist and 
have been called for, they have been most liberally supplied. But 
they are not very numerous. From many descendants of old 
inhabitants the same reply has been made, in answer to inquiries, 
viz : That the family memorials were probably destroyed when the 
Town was burnt in 1775. Two documents, both by two of its 
most prominent citizens, once in the possession of Prince, would 
have been of great value in making this compilation; viz : " Two 
original books of Deputy Governor Willoughby and Captain 
Hammond, giving historical hints from 1651 to 1678 inclusive : 
And " An original journal of the late Capt. Lawrence Hammond 
of Charlestown and Boston, from 1677 to 1694 inclusive." It is 
supposed that these were destroyed with other papers in Prince's 
Library, in the tower of the old South Church, Boston, at the 
commencement of the Revolution. Belknap cites a journal 
supposed to have been written by Capt. Hammond. 

The author, from such sources, has compiled a History of 
Charlestown. This place when first visited by Europeans, was 
known by the name of Mishawum, and was full of stately timber and 
hospitable Indians. Here a colony, composed of men of mode- 
rate fortunes and of high character, founded a town. Many of its 
inhabitants were men of capacity and enterprise, and were called 
to fill important situations in the colonial government. Even while 
discharging these duties they took an active share in the municipal 
concerns of the town. The board of selectmen shows, for a 
century and a half, an uninterrupted succession of such men : l 

1 Increase No-well, a leading character in Church and State, was at the 
head of the board of selectmen nineteen years, until his death in 1655. and 
during this period he had as associates, Francis Willoughby, Deputy Gov- 
ernor ; Robert Sedgwick, Major General ; Francis Norton, a prominent 
military character ; Abraham Palmer, the Spragues and others. After 
Mr. Novvell's decease, Richard Russell, for twenty years the Treasurer of 
the colony, was at the head of the board : he served on it twenty-six 
years in succession. After 1676, Lawrence Hammond, another prominent 
military and civil character was selectman twelve years ; Richard 
Sprague, son of Ralph, fourteen years ; Joseph Lyndc, fifteen years ; and 
James Russell, son of the Treasurer, fourteen years. From 1700 to 
1765, the following, among others — John Phillips, Jonathan Dowse, 
Nathaniel Carey, Daniel Russell, Charles Chambers, Isaac Royal, Thomas 
Graves, Ezekiel Cheever, Chambers Russell, Edward Sheafc, James 
Russell (1760), and Nathaniel Gorham — all holding high civil offices, as 
Councillors and Judges and leading men in the colony — appear for 


while the corporate action of the town affords evidence of a 
public spirit, that was acknowledged valuable on important and 
trying occasions. This is seen especially in the Revolutions of 
1689 and 1775. It is not less decidedly seen in the support of 
religion and education. The Church and the School House 
stood side by side, quietly diffusing their beneficent influences, 
until the great day of sacrifice. The burning of their homes 
rather quickened, than cast down, the public spirit of the citizens. 
In May, 1776, they gathered in legal meeting, amid the yet smoul- 
dering ruins, to respond to a call to sustain a Declaration of 
Independence ; and then pledged their lives to the support of this 
great measure. 

And it is not too much to say, that, at the present day, Charles- 
town is doing faithfully its part in maintaining republican insti- 
tutions. Its appearance indicates a prosperous community. It 
has handsome streets and creditable public buildings. Its religious 
institutions and common schools are liberally supported. Nume- 
rous benevolent associations are constantly distributing their char- 
ities. It has a thoroughly furnished and efficient fire-department, 
and makes ample provision for its poor. Its police is vigilant. 
Its military corps patriotic. It bears the impress of the commer- 
cial enterprise of the day, and is rapidly increasing in population, 
wealth and consequence. Nor have its inhabitants lost that public 
spirit that is so conspicuous in the early history of the town. 

A town history must necessarily consist mainly of local details, 
small in themselves, and chiefly interesting to the descendants of 
the actors of them, or to those who occupy their places. Yet this 
detail, these little things, if judiciously selected, " illustrate classes 
of men and ages of time; " and as they show the feelings, opinions, 
and action of a period, constitute its life. Such, indeed, was the 
unity of spirit that prevailed in the towns, those of New England 
especially, and so similar was their internal management, that a 
history of one will illustrate the history of all. And hence a work 

many years in succession, members of the board. The town clerks 
were, generally particular to prefix their titles in full. As a sample take 
the record of the board for 1695, — at this time, " The most worshipful 
James Russell " was commonly moderator of the Town Meetings. James 
Russell, Esq., Col. Jno. Phillips, Esq., Lieut. Col. Joseph Lynde, Esq., 
Capt. Samuel Hayman, Esq., Mr. Jacob Greene, Jr., Capt. Jonathan 
Call, Ensign Timothy Phillips." 


of this kind, if accurate, will be a useful contribution to general 

But there is, or ought to be, a peculiar interest attaching to 
each town, for each has its peculiar history and traditions. Each 
has some noted spot, where the Indian may have fought for his 
burial places, or the colonists for their freedom ; that may have 
sheltered a hermit or a regicide; that superstition may have 
invested with a fairy legend, or nature have robed with more than 
fairy magnificence. Each has had its Liberty Tree, its Green 
Dragon, its Faneuil Hall, where its patriots may have counselled 
or acted. And each town has had citizens who laid its founda- 
tions, perhaps in hardship and danger; who labored for its prosper- 
ity, or who went out to suffer in a common cause. Each has had 
its Man of Ross and village Hampdens. They acted as worthily 
in their sphere, and deserve as grateful remembrance, as those 
whose fame is on every tongue. It is for the local annalist to 
gather up these traditions and histories, for they are to a town, 
what common recollections are to the country. 

But besides such local details, the memorable events that have 
occurred within its limits, may render a history of Charlestown of 
much general interest. Salem excepted, it is the oldest town of 
the Massachusetts Colony. Here the founders of the latter 
wrestled fearfully with famine and mortality. Yet, when enduring 
the keenest anguish that can rive the human heart, they persevered 
in their work in the highest faith that can mark the christian life. 
The dead "were buried about the Town Hill." 1 They were 
"the first victims to the cause of liberty." 2 The other heights 
are redolent with Revolutionary associations. " All are the altars 
of precious sacrifice," 2 where patriots, to maintain liberty, acted 
with a heroism kindred to that which their ancestors displayed in 
planting it. In consequence of this, how wide has become their 
fame ! Under the rule of the Red Man, Bunker Hill may have 
been noted as a favorite spot on which to light his council fires. 
But, in the order of Providence, the council fires are to die away, 
and, under a new dominion, a new fire is to be kindled, that is 
to go onward and upward, until it culminates upon its summit. 
The deeds which the good and the brave here performed for their 

1 Town Records. 2 Edward Everett. 


country and their race, have made Bunker Hill to America what 
Marathon was to Greece. 

These events will be traced, as much as possible, from contem- 
porary authorities. Although, where so many have gleaned before, 
but little may be presented that will be new, in relation to the mil- 
itary transactions, yet the nature of this work will justify a narra- 
tive more minute, than, perhaps, can be elsewhere found. 

Still, it must be borne in mind, that these pages purport to be, 
not a history of the Country, or of Massachusetts, but simply a 
memorial of Charlestown. They will contain but little that is not 
considered necessary to exhibit the condition of its inhabitants, or 
the events that have transpired within its limits. It will be com- 
piled, mostly, from manuscripts, and it will be the author's aim to 
set down no fact without an authority for it. Still, errors are 
almost unavoidable. He will cheerfully correct, in the best manner 
he is able, those that friends will have the kindness to point out. 


1614 to 1628. — Early Boundaries of the Town. — Discovery by Smith. 
— Visit of Plymouth Settlers. — The Fishermen. — Grant to Robert 
Gorges. — His Colony. 

Charlestown is a peninsula, formed by the Mystic and Charles 
rivers and a small tract on the main land, with which it is con- 
nected by a narrow isthmus. So far as it regards territory, it is 
the smallest town in the State. 

But, originally, Charlestown was far more extensive. It included 
Maiden, Woburn, Stoneham, Burlington, and Somerville, a large 
part of Medford, and a small part of Cambridge, West Cambridge 
and Reading. 

Woburn, comprising Burlington, was incorporated in 1642 ; 

i The dates in this work are altered, so far as it respects the months 
and years, to correspond with the new style. Up to 1752 the year began 
March 25. It was altered that year to January 1. To bring the days into 


Maiden, in 1649 ; Stoneham, in 1725; Somerville, in 1842. In 
1724 and 1725, a large tract called "North Charlestown," was set 
off, part to Maiden and part to Reading. In 1754, another tract, 
including several large farms, was set off to Medford, and now forms 
the eastern part of that town. A tract was set off to Cambridge 
in 1802, and to West Cambridge in 1842. The only one of these 
towns whose history, to the present day, is connected with 
Charlestown, is Somerville. 

The first Englishman who is known to have visited its shores, 
was the celebrated navigator, John Smith. In 1614, he sailed on 
a voyage from London, and while his men were engaged in fish- 
ing, he spent three months exploring the coasts. He entered 
Charles River and named it. 1 On his return, he wrote a glowing 
description of the places he had discovered, and pronounced "the 
country of the Massachusetts the paradise of all those parts, for 
here are many isles, all planted with corn, groves, mulberries, 
salvage gardens, and good harbors." He found the natives " very 
kind, but in their fury no less valiant." 

In 1621, Sept. 20, ten of the infant colony of Plymouth were 
sent on an expedition, partly to trade, and partly to conclude 
peace with the Massachusetts Indians. They landed under a 
cliff, supposed to be Copp's Hill, where they met with a kind re- 
ception from the natives. Though they touched at several places 
in the harbor, they do not appear to have landed here. Having 
been absent four days from Plymouth, and collected a considerable 
quantity of beaver, they returned home with so good an opinion 
of the country, as to wish it had fallen to their lot to have occu- 
pied it. 

At this early period, fishermen were frequent visitors to the 
harbor. In 1622, thirty-five of their vessels were on the coasts of 
New England. Though they may have run up the Bay, yet there 
is no account existing of their having landed at this place. 

new style, add for the seventeenth century ten days to the date, and for 
the eighteenth, up to 1752, eleven days. A full and interesting account 
of old and new style, double dating, &c, may be found in the American 
Quarterly Register, vol. xiv. 

l Smith, in Mass. Hist. Collections. " I took the fairest reach in this 
bay for a river, whereupon T called it Charles River." Hutchinson, vol. 
i. p. 410, says that Prince Charles " gave the name of Charles River to 
what had been before called Massachusetts River." Wood, N. E. Pros- 
pect, mentions " Mishaum" River among the Indian names of rivers. 


In 1620, King James granted to the Council of Plymouth 
the territory lying between forty and forty-eight degrees north 
latitude, and in length by all this breadth throughout the main 
land, from sea to sea. This was the foundation of all the grants 
in New England. 

In 1622, Dec. 30, this Company granted to Robert Gorges, all 
that part of the main land "commonly called or known by the 
name of the Messachusiack," 1 situate " upon the north-east side of 
the Bay, called or known by the name of the Messachusett." 
This included the shores and coast, " for ten English miles towards 
the north-east," and " thirty English miles unto the main land, 
through all the breadth aforesaid," with all the rivers, islands, 
minerals, &c. This grant included the limits of Charlestown. 

In 1623, the Plymouth Council appointed Robert Gorges, Lieu- 
tenant-General of New England. He came over that year to 
establish a colony, and thus secure his patent. With him came 
William Morrill, an Episcopal clergyman, who had a commission 
to superintend the Ecclesiastical affairs. Gorges arrived in the 
Massachusetts Bay about the middle of September, with "passen- 
gers and families," and selected the place that Weston had 

Morton, in the N. E. Memorial, relates a difficulty Gorges had 
at Plymouth, after which he took his leave, gratified with the 
hospitality of the colonists, and " went to the Massachusetts by 
land." 2 Gorges, for about a year, endeavored to promote the 
success of his colony. No supplies however reached him from 
England, and his friends " advised him to return home until better 
occasion should offer itself unto him." He left his rights to the 
care of his agents. 3 

Hutchinson, writing of 1626, says : " I find mention made of 
planters at Winnissemit about the same time, who probably re- 
moved there from some other plantation." It is not improbable 

i The territory known as Massachusetts was, in the early days of the 
Colony, confined to the region about Boston harbor, from Nahant to Point 
Alderton. Thus, Governor Winthrop writes that, June 17, 1630, he 
went from Salem to " Massachusetts, to find out a place for our sitting 
down." — Savage's Winthrop, vol. ii. p. 27. 

2 N. E. Memorial, p. 106. 

3 Gorges, chap 27 ; Hazard, vol. i. p. 91 ; Hubbard, p. 86. 



that these were a part of the colony of Gorges. William Black- 
stone, the first settler of Boston, is named three years later, as 
being in the agency of John Gorges; so also is Jeffries, afterwards 
one of the first settlers of Ipswich. These individuals may have 
held their lands under the authority of this patent ; and this may 
have been the case, also, with Thomas Walford, the smith, — the 
European found here by the first settlers. 

Hutchinson remarks, that the patent of Robert Gorges was 
loose and uncertain, and no use was ever made of it. 1 It covered 
a part of the territory afterwards granted to the Massachusetts 
Company. The conflicting claim thence arising, was the imme- 
diate cause of the settlement of Charlestown. 


1628. — John Oldham's Lease. — Grant to Massachusetts Company. — 
Controversy respecting Claims. — Arrival of Endicott. — The Spragues. 

Robert Gorges died soon after his attempt to occupy his 
patent. His right descended to his eldest brother, John Gorges. 
The latter probably in 1628, leased a portion of the territory that 
fell to him to John Oldham and John Dorrill. The former ap- 
pears to have managed the negotiations. He was an intelligent 
and enterprising planter, who had acquired an intimate knowledge 
of the natives, and had a high opinion of the country. He is the 
same person whose murder, by the Indians, in 1636, was the imme- 
diate cause of the Pequot war. He had been entrusted by the 
Governor of Plymouth with the charge of Morton, the Merry 
Mount rioter, and went to England in the summer of 1628. This 
lease included the limits of Charlestown, and reads as follows : — 

" All the lands within the Massachusetts Bay, between Charles 
River and Abousett 2 River, containing in length, by straight line, 
five miles up the Charles River into the main land, north-west from 

lHist. Mass., vol. i. p. 14. 2 Saugus River. 


the border of said Bay, including all creeks and points by the 
way ; and three miles in length from the mouth of the foresaid 
river Abousett, up into the main land, upon a straight line south- 
west, including all creeks and points : and all the land in breadth 
and length between the foresaid rivers, with all prerogatives, 
royal mines excepted." 

And on the sight of this grant, " Mr. Blackstone, clergyman, and 
William Jeffryes, gentleman," were authorized to put Oldham in 
possession of this territory. 1 

The Plymouth Council, whose only source of revenue was the 
sale of patents, on the 19th of March, 1628, sold this same terri- 
tory over again to the Massachusetts Company, bounding their 
grant to a territory three miles north of the river Merrimack, and 
three miles south of the river Charles, and extending from the 
Atlantic Ocean to the South Sea. 2 This was the Company that 
colonized Massachusetts. It took immediate steps to occupy its 

On his arrival in England, 1628, Oldham first endeavored to 
obtain from this Company an important agency in its concerns, 
holding out as the inducement, the prospect of large profits from 
his management. Having failed in this, he next appears engaged 
in a controversy with the Company respecting his lease, — the 
question being the validity of his title ; he contending that it was 
good, — the Company, by the advice of counsel, that it was "voyd 
in law." Oldham is characterized in the records as obstinate 
and violent — "so affected to his own opinion, as not to be re- 
moved from it neither by reason, nor by any persuasion." They 
state that, " unless he could have his own way, there would be but 
little hope of quiet or comfortable subsistence, where he should 
make his abode." 3 

About the time this controversy commenced, John Endicott, in 
the ship Abigail, Henry Gauden, master, arrived at Salem. This 
was September 6, 1628. After this arrival, three brothers, Ralph 

1 Hazard, vol. i. p. 68. 

2 This sale Sir Ferdinando Gorges says, had his approbation only " so 
far forth as it might not be prejudicial to his son's interests, whereof he 
had a patent under the seal of the charter." — Gorges, chap. 26, Mass. Col. 

3 Hazard, vol. i. p. 268. 


Sprague, Richard Sprague, and William Sprague, with three or 
four others, with Endicott's permission, " travelled through the 
woods" to this peninsula. The Town Records give the following 
relation of this event, preceded by a history of the discovery and 
settlement of the country. It forms the beginning of the first 
volume, and was written by John Greene, in 1664. 

" Captain John Smith having (in the reign of our sovereign 
Lord James, by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland, 
France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith,) made a discovery of 
some parts of America, lighted, amongst other places, upon the 
opening betwixt Cape Cod and Cape Ann, situate and lying in 
315 degrees of longitude, and 42 degrees 20 min. of north latitude, 
where by sounding and making up, he fell in amongst the islands, 
and advanced up into the Massachusetts Bay, till he came up into 
the river, between Mishaum, (afterwards called Charlestovvn,) and 
Shawmutt, (afterwards called Boston,) and having made discovery 
of the land, rivers, coves, and creeks in the said bay, and also 
taken some observations of the natures, dispositions, and sundry 
customs of the numerous Indians, or natives, inhabiting the same ; 
he returned to England, where (it was reported that) upon his 
arrival, he presented a map of the Massachusetts Bay to the king, 
and that the prince (afterwards King Charles the First,) upon in- 
quiry and perusal of the aforesaid river, and the situation thereof 
upon the map, appointed it to be called Charles River. 

" Now, upon the fame that then went abroad of the place, both in 
England and Holland, several persons of quality sent over several 
at their own cost, who planted this country in several places, but 
for want of judgment, care, and orderly living, divers died, others 
meeting with many hazards, hardships, and wants, at length being 
reduced to great penury and extremity, were so tired out, that they 
took all opportunities of returning to England, upon which several 
places were altogether deserted, and by only some few that upon a 
better principle, transported themselves from England and Hol- 
land, came and settled their plantation a little within Cape Cod, 
and called t!ie same Plymouth: these, notwithstanding all their 
wants, hazards, and sufferings, continued several years in a man- 
ner alone, at which time this country was generally called by the 
name of New England. 

"At length divers gentlemen and merchants of London obtained 


a patent and charter for the Massachusetts Bay, (from our sovereign 
Lord King Charles the First,) gave invitation to such as would 
(transport themselves from Old England to New England) to go 
and possess the same : and for their encouragement, the said pa- 
tentees, at their own cost, sent over a company of servants, under 
the government of Mr. John Endicott, who, arriving within this 
bay, settled the first plantation of this jurisdiction, called Salem : 
under whose wing there were a few also that settle and plant up 
and down, scattering in several places of the bay : where, though 

they met with the dangers, difficulties, and attending 

new plantations in a solitary wilderness, so far remote from their 
native country, yet were they not left without company : for in 
the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-eight, 
came over from England several people at their own charge, and 
arrived at Salem, after which, people came over yearly in great 
numbers; in — ! — years many hundreds arrived, and settled not 
only in Massachusetts Bay, but did suddenly spread themselves 
into other colonies also." 

" Amongst others that arrived at Salem at their own cost, 1 were 
Ralph Sprague, with his brethren Richard and William, who with 
three or four more, by joint consent and approbation of Mr. John 
Endicott, Governor, did the same summer of Anno 1628, under- 
take a journey from Salem, and travelled the woods above twelve 
miles to the westward, and lighted of a place situate and lying on 
the north side of Charles River, full of Indians called Aberginians. 2 
their old Sachem being dead, his eldest son, by the English called 

i In a letter of the Company to Governor Endicott, dated May 28, 1629, 
this description of settlers is alluded to as follows: "We desire that 
Thomas Beard may have fifty acres of land allotted to him, as one that 
transports himself at his own charge, but as well for him as all others 
that shall have land allotted to them in that kind, and are no adventurers 
in the common stock, which is to support the charge of fortifications, as 
also for the ministry, and divers other affairs, we hold it fit, that these 
kind of men, as also such as shall come to inherit lands by their service, 
should, by way of acknowledgment to such from whom they receive these 
lands, become liable to the performance of some service certain days in 
the year, and by that service they, and their posterity after them, to hold 
and inherit these lands, which will be a good means to enjoy their lands 
from being held in capite, and to support the plantation in general and 
particular." — Hazard, vol. i. p. 283. 

2 Aberginians was not the name of a tribe, but a general name for In- 


John Sagamore, was their chief, and a man naturally of a gentle 
and good disposition, by whose free consent they settled about 
the hill of the same place, by the said natives called Mishawum, 
where they found but one English pallisadoed and thatched house, 
wherein lived Thomas Walford, a smith, situate on the south end 
of the westermost hill of the East Field, a little way up from 
Charles River side, and upon survey, they found it was a neck of 
land generally full of stately timber, as was the main, and the land 
lying on the east side of the river, called Mystick River, from the 
farm Mr. Craddock's servants had planted called Mystick, which 
this river led up unto ; and indeed generally all the country round 
about, was an uncouth wilderness, full of timber." 

This interesting relation is immediately succeeded by a record 
of the names of the inhabitants that " first settled in this place, and 
brought it into the denomination of an English town." The re- 
cord places this also in 1628. But it includes among these names 
Mr. Graves, who " this year built the Great House," and Mr. 
Bright, "minister to the Company's servants." Now it is certain 
that neither Graves nor Bright sailed from England until 1629. 
Hence there is evidently an error at this point in the date of the 
records. This error continues for two years, making the arrival 
ofWinthropto be 1629, when it ought to be 1630. Does the 
error begin with the account of the journey of the Spragues? 
They, with their companions, may have arrived here in the sum- 
mer or fall of 1623, and encouraged by the friendly reception they 
met with from the Indians, and a desire of the Company, (that may 
have been already known to them,) to take immediate possession of 
the country, have here built their huts, and remained through the 
winter of 1628-9. 1 Yet it appears probable that the Company 
that came with Endicott would have kept together the first winter. 
If the Spragues came over after Endicott, unless they came in a pri- 
vate vessel, it would bring it to 1629, as no other ship came over in 
1628. The same authority states that it was not until Mr. Graves 
had laid out the town, that the lots of these pioneers were located, 
or that they began to build. To understand why so many of the 

iFelt (Annals of Salem) says the Spragues came with Endicott. E. 
Everett (Orations) concludes, from the records, they were not of his com- 


Company occupied this place the succeeding year, it is necessary 
to glance briefly at some of its proceedings in England. 


1629. — John Oldham. — Sir William Brereton. — Thomas Graves. — 
Emigration with Higginson. — Instructions to Endicott. — Arrival at 

In 1629, the controversy between Oldham and the Massachusetts 
Company was concluded by the following vote of the latter, May, 
11 : " Mr. Oldham propounded unto Mr. White that he would 
have his patent, &c, and it is agreed by the Court, not to have 
any treaty with him about it, by reason, it is thought, he doth it not 
out of love, but out of some sinister respect." l 

But the Company, by this time, were engaged with another 
claimant to the land about Massachusetts Bay, who is, throughout, 
treated with marked respect, — Sir William Brereton. John 
Gorges, by a deed dated January 10, 1629, conveyed to Sir William 
Brereton of Handforth, in the county of Chester, Bart, and his 
heirs, " all the land in breadth lyeinge from y e East side of Charles 
River to the easterly parte ofF the cape called Nahannte and all 
the lands lyeinge in length 20 miles north east into y e maine land 
from the mouth the said Charles River lyeinge also in length 20 
miles into the maine land north east from y e said cape Nahannte : 
also two Islands lyeinge next unto the shoare betweene Nahannte 
and Charles River the bigger called Brereton and the lesser 
Susanna." 2 

Negotiations with Sir William Brereton were continued for a 
year. His object was to make such an arrangement with the 
Company, in relation to the settlement of a contemplated colony, 
as would preserve the title he acquired of Gorges. In this he was 

1 Colony Records. 

2 Massachusetts Archives. — Hutchinson, vol. i. p. 14. The two islands 
were, East Boston and Belle Isle. — Lewis's Lynn. 


not successful. Nor would the Company, by purchase, acknowledge 
the validity of his claim. On the 10th of February, 1630, it voted 
a respectful invitation to him to join it " according to the Charter," 
and that such servants as he might send over should " receive all 
courteous respect, and be accommodated with land, and what else 
shall be necessary as other servants of the Company." At the same 
time that this decision was formally communicated to him, a com- 
mittee of two were appointed to " signify the Company's affection 
and respect unto him." l 

While these negotiations were pending, the Company were taking 
efficient steps to further improve their patent. On the 4th of 
March, 1629, a Royal Charter constituted the "Associates" a body 
politic. This charter, cherished with so much care for half a cen- 
tury, was regarded as a confirmation of their grant from the 
Plymouth Council. On the 10th of March, the Company signed 
a contract with an engineer of high reputation, — Thomas Graves, 
— who laid out Charlestown. This commenced as follows : — 

" This 10th March 1628-9, I, Thomas Graves of Gravesend, 
in the County of Kent, gent, and by my profession skillful and 
experienced in the discovery and fynding out of Iron mynes, as 
also of lead, copper, mineral : salt, and in fortifications of all sorts 
according to the nature of the place, in surveying of buildings and 
of lands and in measuring of lands, in describing a country by 
mappe ; in leading of water to pp (proper) uses for millers or 
other uses ; in fynding out * * * sorts of Lyme stone and mate- 
riels for building ; in manufacturing, have this present day agreed 
to serve the New England * * * and in theire employment to take 
my passage for nevve England in such shippe as they shall appoynt 
me, and- during my stay there according to the conditions heere- 
after expressed to doe my true and uttermost indeavour in all or 
any the particulars above mentioned for the most good and benefit 
of said companie." 

The compensation of Mr. Graves was to be, his passage out and 
back, five pounds a month while in New England, in case he 
remained but eight months. If he remained three years, the 
passage of his family, their support until the harvest after their 
arrival, a house, one hundred acres of land, fifty pounds a year, 

1 Colony Records. 


and the same proportion of land as those who have families. 
After this time, Mr. Graves was often consulted in relation to the 
operations of the Company. 

In April, the preparations for a large emigration were completed. 
Rev. Francis Higginson and about two hundred persons, embarked 
in April and May, 1629. At this time, the Company sent a long 
letter to Gov. Endicott, which shows how solicitous they were to 
have the territory claimed by Oldham and Brereton immediately 
improved. This letter is dated April 17, 1629. It says, in refer- 
ence to Oldham : — 

"We fear that as he hath been obstinate and violent in his 
proceedings here, so he will persist and be ready to draw a party 
to himself there, to the great hindrance of the common quiet : we 
have therefore thought fit to give you notice of his disposition, to 
the end, you may beware how you meddle with him, as also you 
may use the best means you can to settle an agreement with the 
old planters so as they may not hearken to Mr. Oldham's danger- 
ous though vaine propositions." 

This letter also gives Governor Endicott the following positive 
instructions to occupy Massachusetts Bay : — 

" We pray you and the council there, to advise seriously 
together for the maintenance of our privileges and peaceable gov- 
ernment, which, if it may be done by a temperate course, we 
much desire it, though with some inconvenience so as our gov- 
ernment and privileges be not brought in contempt, wishing rather 
there might be such an union as might draw the heathen by our 
good example to the embracing of Christ and his Gospel, than that 
offence should be given to the heathen, and a scandal to our 
Religion through our disagreement amongst ourselves. But if ne- 
cessity require a more severe course, when fair means will not 
prevail ; we pray you to deal, as in your discretions you shall think 
fittest for the general good and safety of the plantation and preser- 
vation of our privileges. And because we would not omit to do 
any thing which might strengthen our right, we would have you 
(as soon as these ships, or any of them arrive with you, whereby 
you may have men to do it) send forty or fifty persons to Massachu- 
setts Bay to inhabit there, which we pray you not to protract, but 
to do it with all speed; and if any of our Company in particular 
shall desire to settle themselves there, or to send servants thither, 



we desire all accommodation and encouragement may be given 
them thereunto, whereby the better to strengthen our possession 
there against all or any that shall intrude upon us, which we would 
not have you by any means give way unto ; with this caution not- 
withstanding — That for such of our countrymen as you find 
there planted, so as they be willing to live under government, you 
endeavor to give them all fitting and due accommodation as to any 
of ourselves ; yea, if you see cause for it, though it be with more 
than ordinary privileges in point of trade." 1 

In this letter Mr. Graves is highly recommended, " as much for 
his honesty as for his skill." Express instructions were given to 
the Governor to consult with him in relation to the proposed set- 
tlement. He had been " a traveller in divers forraigne parts to 
gaine his experience." Therefore say the Company, " we pray you 
take his advice touching the premises, and where you intend to sit 
down in, to fortify and build a town that it may be qualified for 
good air and water, according to your first instruction, and may 
have as much natural help as may be, whereby it may with the 
less labor and cost be made fit to resist an enemy." 

This letter, dated April 17, was sent by the George Boneven- 
tur% 2 This ship arrived at Salem, June 22. 3 The Talbot and 
Lion's Whelp, with Higginson and Bright, arrived June 29. Dur- 
ing the last week of June, or the first week of July, 1 629, Mr. Graves, 
Rev. Francis Bright, with a part of the emigrants, settled in Charles- 
town. Describing the colony this year, Higginson says : — " There 
are in all of vs both old and new planters about three hundred, 
whereof two hundred of them are settled at Neihum-kek, now 
called Salem : and the rest have planted themselves at Masathulets 
Bay, beginning to build a towne there which wee doe call Cher- 
ton, or Charles Towne." 4 

i Hazard vol. i. p. 259. 2 Felt's Salem, 2d ed. p. 86. 

3 Higginson in Hutch. Coll. 4 Higginson in Force's Tracts, vol. i. 



1629 to 1630. — Foundation of the Town. 1 — First Settlers. — Winter of 
1629-30. — Indian Conspiracy. — Francis Bright. — Thomas Graves. 
— Descriptions of the Country. — Charlestown in 1629. — Time's 

In 1629, when Graves and Bright arrived here, a few settlers 
had located themselves in the neighborhood. Samuel Maverick, 
early noted for his hospitality, had a residence at Noddles Island. 
William Blackstone, an Episcopal clergyman, lived at Shawmut, 
now Boston. At Mishawum, now Charlestown, Thomas Walford 
had built his "pallisadoed and thatched house." The precise 
date when these pioneers of civilization first pitched their tents, 
is not known. 

l Dr. Bartlett (2 Mass. Coll. vol. ii. p. 163,) and Hon. E. Everett, (Ora- 
tions p. 210, 213) place the foundation of the town in 1628. So do Prince 
and other writers. The only authority for this date however is the town 
records. Prince (p. 250) erroneously supposed these written by Increase 
Nowell ; they state Endicott's arrival correctly, but are otherwise erro- 
neous as to dates previous to 1632. Besides : 

1. The records indicate that the Spragues came over after Endi- 
cott came, yet they say, " in the same summer " of 1628 — which must 
have been after Sept. 6 — they, with three or four more, settled about the 
Town Hill. And furthermore, they expressly state that Graves, Bright 
and the Palmers, were of those " who first settled in this place." But some 
of these did not come over until 1629. 

2. Though the Spragues may have explored this peninsula previous to 
the arrival of Graves, yet they, the records, expressly say, did not begin to 
build until he had laid out their lots, which must have been in 1629. 

. 3. Danforth's Almanac, the entries of which were made in 1647, sev- 
enteen years before this relation was written, places the foundation of the 
town in 1629. 

The precise date may reasonably be fixed as the day of Graves's arri- 
val. The Talbot, with Higginson, did not arrive at Salem until June 29. 
But " the George," he writes, (Hutch. Coll. p. 33) " having the special 
and urgent cause of hastening her passage, set sail before the rest about 
the middle of April." The imperative nature of the instructions she car- 
ried (see p. 17) will explain the " urgent cause." She arrived June 22. 
Endicott would not be likely to " protract," but to send some of the em- 
igrants to inhabit at Massachusetts Bay. That most accurate of early 
writers, Prince, (p. 261) places the arrival here of Thomas Graves, under 
the date of June 24. Add ten days, to bring this to new style, and it will 
give July 4, 1629, as the only date for the foundation of Charlestown, for 
which good authority can be adduced. 



Several of the early towns had no special acts of incorporation. 
This was the case with Salem and Lynn. It was also the case 
with Charlestown. It was the original purpose of the colonists to 
build a large town, and the Company voted, May 1, 1629, when 
in England, that, when a site had been decided upon, " no man 
shall presume to build his house in any other place," — making 
however the exception, " unless it be in the Massachusetts Bay, and 
then according to such direction as shall be thought meet for that 
place." l The Spragues and their associates, who this year found- 
ed the town, acted under the immediate direction of an agent of 
the Company, — Thomas Graves; and before there appears on 
record any precise grant, or the boundaries were defined, proceeded 
to occupy the land, and the next year even to build in the country 
towards Cambridge. But they had, undoubtedly, permission from 
the Company, as an order of September 7, 1630, prohibited any 
" to plant at any place within the limits " of their patent without 
leave from the governor and assistants, or the major part of 
them. 1 

The following is the record of their first proceedings : — 
" The inhabitants yt : first settled in this place and brought it 
into the denomination of an English Towne was (were) in Anno 
1628 (1629) as follows, viz : 
Ralph Sprague, Abra. Palmer, 
Richd. Sprague, Walter Pamer, 

Nicholas Stowers, 
John Stickline, 
Tho. Walford smith 
yt lived heere alone 

William Sprague, 
John Meech, 
Simon Hoyte, 

Mr. Graves 

who had charge of 
some of the servts. of 
the Company of Pa- 
tentees with whom hee 
built the great house 
this yeare for such cf 
the sd Company as are 
shortly to come over 
which afterwards be- 
came the Meeting 
And Mr. Bright Minister to the Companies Servants." 

By whom it was jointly agreed and concluded, that this place 
on the north side of Charles River, by the natives called Misha- 

1 Colony Records. 


wum, shall henceforth from the name of the river, be called Charles- 
town, which was also confirmed by Mr. John Endicott, governor. 

It is jointly agreed and concluded by the inhabitants of this 
town, that Mr. Graves do model and lay out the form of the town, 
with streets about the Hill, which was accordingly done and 
approved of by the Governor. 

It is jointly agreed and concluded, that each inhabitant have a 
two acre lot to plant upon, and all to fence in common ; which 
was accordingly by Mr. Graves measured out unto them. 

Upon which Ralph Sprague and others began to build their 
houses, and to prepare fencing for their lots, which was (were) 
afterwards set up almost in a semi-circular form on the south and 
south-east side of that field laid out to them, which lies situated on 
the north-west side of the Town Hi*. 

Walter Pamer and one or two more, shortly afterwards began to 
build in a straight line upon their two acre lots on the east side of 
the Town Hill, and set up a slight fence in common, that ran up to 
Tho. Walford's fence, and this was the beginning of that east field." 

Some account may be expected of these founders of the town. 
Ralph Sprague was a farmer and the oldest of the three brothers. 
Their father, Edward Sprague, was a fuller of Upway, in the 
County of Dorset, England. Ralph Sprague was about twenty- 
five years of age when he emigrated. In 1630, he was chosen 
constable and made freeman, and in 1632, one of the founders of 
the church. He was selectman several years, and representative 
nine years, — first in 1637. He was a member of the Boston 
Artillery Company 1637. In 1639, he was elected Lieutenant. 
He died in 1650. He was a prominent and valuable citizen, — 
active in promoting the welfare of the town and of the colony. 
The General Court, in 1639, granted him one hundred acres of 
land " having borne difficulties in the beginning." He left four 
sons: John and Richard, born in England; Samuel born 1631; 
and Phineas. .Also a daughter Mary, who married Daniel 
Edmands. His widow, Joanna, married Edward Converse and 
died about Nov. 1680. Of his sons, Richard became a prominent 
citizen, and Samuel had a daughter Avho married Ebenezer Austin, 
— the ancestor of Benj. Austin of Boston and Gen. Nathl. Austin 
of this town. 1 

1 Genealogy of the Sprague Family. 


Richard Sprague was a merchant, and the third son of Edward 
Sprague. He was made freeman 1631, one of the founders of the 
church, 1632, Captain of the Charlestown Military Company, a 
member of the Artillery Company, Boston, several years select- 
man, and a representative from 1659 to 1666. He died Nov. 25, 
1668, leaving to Harvard College thirty-one sheep and thirty lambs, 
and thirty pounds, in value, to the church of this town. His 
estate was valued at .£2357, 16s. 8c?. of which one item was £600 
in money. He left the greatest part of this to his widow, Mary. 
He bequeathed to Ralph's son, Richard, a wharf and warehouse, 
and other property; and to his brother William, of Hingham, his 
sword, which, in 1828, was in the possession of his descendants. 
He left no children. His widow, Mary, died 1674. 

William Sprague was the youngest of the three brothers. In 
1629, he visited Hingham, in a boat, and afterwards became one 
of its founders. His name appears repeatedly as an inhabitant of 
Charlestown until 1635. In 1636, he obtained a grant of land at 
Hingham, removed there, and continued to live there, sustaining 
important town offices, until his death, Oct. 26, 1675. His wife's 
name was Millesaint. He had eleven children. 

Abraham Palmer, a merchant, was one of the prominent men 
of the colony. He signed the instructions to Gov. Endicott, May 
30, 1628. He probably came over in Higginson's fleet in 1629, 
and arrived in this town with Graves. He was freeman in 1631, 
and selectman several years, and elected six years a representative, 
first in 1634, the last time in 1646. His name appears on the rec- 
ords in connection with the most important business. He was 
sergeant in the Pequot war, in which he is mentioned as doing 
efficient service, being ordered with twelve men to surround a part 
of the swamp in the great fight, to prevent the Indians from escap- 
ing. In 1638, he is styled Ensign Palmer, and was chosen town 
clerk, and to make a record of the possessions of the inhabitants. 
In 1638, he was a member of the Artillery Company, and in 1642, 
" clerk of the writs." He died at Barbadoes, about 1653. His 
wife's name was Grace, who died about 1660. He was, probably, 
a brother to Walter Palmer. 

Walter Palmer is mentioned in a jury, Sept. 28, 1630, called to 
hold an inquest on the body of Austin Bratcher. It found " that 
the strokes given by Walter Palmer, were occasionally the]means 
of the death of Austin Bratcher, and so to be manslaughter. Mr. 


Palmer was tried at the next Court in October, and acquitted. He 
was freeman 1631, elected selectman in 1635, and constable in 
1636. His son Benjamin was baptized in this town in 1642. 
Soon after he removed to Rehoboth, of which he was one of the 
founders. He there appears to have been an influential citizen. 
He died about 1662, leaving property to his sons John, Jonas, 
William, Gersham, Elihu, Nehemiah, Moses, Benjamin ; and 
daughters Grace, Hannah, and Rebecca. He left to Jonas his 
" lot at Seaconke," who resided there. His son John remained in 

Nicholas Stowers was freeman in 1631, and herdsman in 1633. 
His duties were " to drive the herd forth to their food in the main 
every morning, and to bring them into town every evening, and 
to have fifty bushels of Indian corn for keeping the milch cows till 
Indian harvest be taken in." He was also to have the benefit of 
keeping such other cattle as came into town during the summer. 
He died May 17, 1646, leaving property to his wife Amy, to sons 
Joseph and Richard, to daughters Jane and Abigail, and daughter 
Starr. Richard Stowers, named as arriving in 1628, died July 8, 

John Meech may have emigrated to Connecticut. Simon Hoyte 
and John Stickline, were admitted freemen 1631. 

Thomas Walford, the smith, remained in town but two years. 
If he held his land originally from Robert Gorges, or one of his 
agents, and reluctantly acknowledged the validity of the Massa- 
chusetts patent, it will account for the severity of the Court 
towards him. In 1631, the following order appears upon the rec- 
ords : Thomas Walford of Charlton is fined =£10, and is enjoined, 
he and his wife, to depart out of the limits of this patent before 
the 20th day of October next, under pain of confiscation of his 
goods, for his contempt of authority and confronting officers." 
A month later, he was again fined £2, and "paid it by killing a 
wolf." Even after he had left the town, the government distrust- 
ed him. On the 3d of September, 1633, it was ordered, " that 
the goods of Thomas Walford shall be sequestered and remain in 
the hands of Ancient Gennison, to satisfy the debts he owes in the 
Bay to several persons." 

" This severity, Mr. Savage writes, must be regretted." He was 
the first English inhabitant of the town. And it is not improbable, 


that to the good offices he rendered to the Indians, the Spragues and 
their companions were indebted for their friendly reception. 

Walford removed to Piscataqua, now Portsmouth. Here his 
conduct goes far to show that the severity with which he was 
treated was undeserved, for he became a prominent and valuable 
citizen. In 1640, he was one of two trustees or wardens for the 
church property, one of the grand jury in 1654, and died about 
1667. His enterprise was rewarded by a competent estate, for he 
left property to the amount of .£1433, 3s. 8d. 

John Walford, probably a son of Thomas Walford was, in 
1692, one of the council of Gov. Allen of New Hampshire. 
Jane Walford, perhaps the wife of Thomas, was in 1656, present- 
ed by her neighbors as a witch, and, ten or twelve years later, 
recovered damages against one for calling her by that odious 
name." l 

This little band are all that are recorded as inhabitants in 1629. 
These had wives and children. But the " servants of the Com- 
pany of patentees," under the charge of Mr. Graves, — mentioned 
by Higginson as those who " began to build at Cherton," — are to 
be added to this list of early residents. Their names are not 
known. These, until more convenient lodgings could be pre- 
pared, lived in wigwams and huts. 2 The work of building went 
on slowly. By the succeeding June, if Roger Clapp may be cred- 
ited, there was but one house in town. 2 This is not improbable, 
as the infant colony experienced more than the common hardships 
of early settlements. During the following winter, provisions became 
scarce, and disease so thinned their numbers, that, by April, eighty 
had died, and those that were alive were " weak and sick." In 
this situation they were alarmed by rumors of hostile Indians. 
The early residents of Charlestown shared in these hardships ; 
at one time " all hands, men, women and children " were engaged 
in providing for self-defence. The town records contain the fol- 
lowing significant relation : 

" About the months of April and May, in the year of our Lord 

1 Savage's Winthrop, 53. Adams's Portsmouth. I have not been able 
to locate precisely the spot of Walford's residence. It is usually fixed on 
the Town Hill. But the " westermost Hill of the East Field," was 
probably, Breed's Hill. He lived on the south side of it, a short distance 
from the water. 

2 R. Clapp. He refers to the Great House, as the only habitation 
worthy of the name. 


1629, (1630) there was a great design of the Indians, from the 
Narragansetts, and all round about us to the eastward in all parts 
to cut off the English, which John Sagamore (who always loved 
the English) revealed to the inhabitants of this town ; but their 
design was chiefly laid against Plymouth (not regarding our pau- 
city in the bay) to be effected under pretence of having some 
sport and pastime at Plymouth, where after some discourse with 
the Governor there, they told him if they might not come with leave 
they would without, upon which the sd. Governor sent their flat 
bottomed boat (which was all they had) to Salem for some powder 
and shot : At which time, it was unanimously concluded by the 
inhabitants of this town, that a small fort should be made on the 
top of this Town Hill, with palisadoes and flankers made out, 
which was performed at the direction of Mr. Graves by all 
hands of men, women and children, who wrought at digging and 
building, till the work was done : But that design of the Indians 
was suddenly broke up by the report of the great guns at Salem, 
only shot off to clear them, by which means they were so frighted, 
that all their companies scattered and ran away, and though they 
came flattering afterwards, and called themselves our good friends, 
yet were we constrained by their conspiracies yearly to be in 

During this time the work of the Gospel was not neglected. 
The Company had instructed the three ministers they had engaged 
to come over, namely, Messrs. Higginson, Skelton and Bright, that 
in case they could not agree who should " inhabit at Massachu- 
setts-Bay," they should " make choice of one of the three by lot," 
and he, on whom the lot should fall, should " go with his family to 
perform that work." 

In accordance with these instructions, Rev. Francis Bright, of 
Roily, Essex, " trained up under Mr. Davenport," came to Charles- 
town. The Company had engaged to give him twenty pounds 
towards the expenses of his journey, his passage out and back, and 
a salary of twenty pounds a year : Also, ten pounds for the pur- 
chase of books and a dwelling-house and land, to be used by him, 
and left to his successor in the ministry. If he remained seven 
years he was to have one hundred acres of land for his own use." * 

1 His contract is printed in Felt's Annals of Salem, vol. i. p. 570. 


Mr. Bright resided in town over a year, and -is termed on the 
records, "minister to the Company's servants." He was named 
as one of the council for the government of the colony. But he 
was a moderate, rather than a thorough Puritan, and affection for 
the church of England restrained him from going with his brethren 
in their increasing non-conformity. Hence, his labors would be 
likely to grow daily more unsatisfactory to the people. He sailed 
for England in the ship Lyon, in July, 1630. Hubbard says, that 
he was " a godly minister." On mentioning his departure, he 
quotes the character another gave him, "that he began to hew 
stones in the mountains wherewith to build, but when he saw all 
sorts of stones would not suit in the building, as he supposed, he, 
not unlike Jonah, fled from the presence of the Lord, and went 
down to Tarshish." l If he was an Episcopalian, he would not 
be permitted to " hew stones" for the building of the new Eccle- 
siastical temple of Congregationalism. Mather classes him with 
Rev. R. Smith, a clergyman of opposite tendencies, and then buries 
" all further mention of them among the rubbish in the foundation 
of the colony." 2 

There is no record of the gathering of a church, though it is 
not probable that the people remained a year without the enjoyment 
of the ordinances. But this brief notice of Mr. Bright is interesting, 
as it shows, that the institutions of religion were coeval with the 
foundation of the town. 

Of Thomas Graves, the distinguished engineer, there is little 
that is authentic. He is spoken of as a person of eminent skill, and of 
extensive travel. He was named one of the council, and consulted 
often respecting the division of land. In 1629, he had a wife and five 
children. These circumstances indicate a person somewhat ad- 
vanced in years. 

The papers in the possession of the descendants of " Rear Ad- 
miral Thomas Graves," who died in 1653, make the two identical. 
They state, however, that the admiral was born in 1605, which 
would make him too young a person to be the engineer. It is 
probable the latter soon returned to England. But he may have 
been connected with the family that became so prominent in the 
town and the colony. 

This year, 1629, Mr. Graves sent to England a flattering 
description of the country. He writes as follows : — 

1 Hubbard, p. 113. 2 Magnalia, vol. i. p. 64. 


" Thus much I can affirme in generall, that I never came in a 
more goodly country in all my life, all things considered: If it 
hath not at any time been manured and husbanded, yet it is v^ry 
beautifull in open lands, mixed with goodly woods, and again open 
plaines, in some places five hundred acres, some places more, 
some lesse, not much troublesome for to cleere for the plough to 
goe in, no place barren, but on the tops of the hils ; the grasse 
and weeds grow up to a man's face, in the lowlands and by fresh 
rivers aboundance of grasse and large meddowes without any tree 
or shrubbe to hinder the sith. I never saw, except in Hungaria, 
unto which I always paralell this countrie, in all our most respects, 
for every thing that is heare eyther sowne or planted prospereth 
far better then in Old-England : The increase of corne is here 
farre beyond expectation, as I have seene here by experience in 
barly, the which because it is so much above your conception I 
will not mention. And cattle doe prosper very well, and those 
that are bredd here farr greater than those with you in England. 
Vines doe grow here plentifully laden with the biggest grapes that 
ever I saw, some I have seene foure inches about, so that I am 
bold to say of this countrie, as it is commonly said in Germany of 
Hungaria, that for cattel, corne, and wine it excelleth. We have 
many more hopefull commodities here in this country, the which 
time will teach to make good use of: In the mean time wee 
abound with such things which next under God doe make us sub- 
sist : as fish, fowle, deere, and sundrie sorts of fruits, as musk- 
millions, water-millions, Indian pompions, Indian pease, beanes, 
and many other odde fruits that I cannot name ; all which are 
made good and pleasant through this maine blessing of God, the 
healthfulnesse of the countrie which far exceedeth all parts that 
ever I have beene in : It is observed that few or none doe here 
fal sicke, unless of the scurvy, that they bring from aboard the 
ship with them, whereof I have cured some of my companie onely 
by labour." 1 

1 Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. i. This is an extract from a letter writ- 
ten by Mr. Graves in 1629. There is said to be in the British Museum 
" A coppie of a letter from an ingineer sent out to New England, writ- 
ten to a friend in England, A. D. 1629, giving an account of his landing 
with a small company at Salem, and thence going and making a set- 
tlement at Massachusetts Bay, laying the foundation of a town, to which 
the Governour gave the name of Charlestown, with a pleasing description 


This commendation of the country was even exceeded by Higgin- 
son. " Experience doth manifest," he wrote, " that there is hardly 
a more healthfull place to be found in the world that agreeeth bet- 
ter with our English bodyes. Many that have been weake and 
sicklie in Old England, by coming hither have been thoroughly 
healed and growne healthfull strong. For here is an extroar- 
dinarie cleere and dry aire that is of a most healing nature to all 
such as are of a cold, melancholly, flegmatick, rheum atick temper 
of body." "A sup of New England's aire is better than a whole 
draught of Old England's ale." 

But these accounts were by far too flattering. They raised 
expectations in England that were doomed to sad disappointment. 
Deputy Governor Dudley, two years later, writes, that " honest 
men out of a desire to draw over others to them, wrote some- 
what hyperbolically of many things here." 

Such were the events, such the hopes and fears, attending the 
foundation of Charlestown. It is not difficult to imagine the ap- 
pearance of the peninsula and the occupation of its inhabitants, 
during this first year of settlement. The latter, numbering per- 
haps a hundred souls, arrive here in one of the Company's ves- 
sels, and bring with them materials for building. They find 
Thomas Walford, living " alone," — that is the only Englishman 
in the place, — in his rude palisaded residence on the south side 
of Breed's Hill ; having a wife, and, probably, children ; cultiva- 
ting his grounds and trading with the Indians. He receives them 
with coldness and jealousy ; but "the gentle and good" Sagamore, 
the owner of the soil, gives them his "free consent" to commence 
a settlement. Accordingly they set up huts or tents, for a tempo- 
rary shelter, about the Town Hill; and then the accomplished 
Graves proceeds to lay out the streets and divide the ground. Soon, 
Walter Palmer and a few others, begin to fence in their lots, and 
prepare for building on the east side of Main-street, not far 
from Walford's " thatched " residence ; while the Spragues and 

of the exceeding Pleasantness and Fruitfulness of the country, and of 
the civility of the natives. In one sheet MS. Ex dono Rev. Alexandri 
Young, S. T. B." 

The author has made two ineffectual attempts to get this letter. It 
appears to contain interesting historic matter. But it is not in its place 
in the British Museum and cannot be found. It is not improbable that a 
part of this letter is quoted in the text. 


others, do the same on Bow-street around the Hill. But the most 
important work is going on in the Square, where Mr. Graves, with 
a crowd of workmen, is building the " Great House," — anxious, 
that, when the Governor comes to live in it, and the Court to sit 
in it, it may be pronounced worthy of his reputation. Such are 
the six-days' occupations. But as each Sunday comes round, the 
echoes of the axe and the hammer cease to reverberate in the 
" uncouth wilderness ; " and all join with that " godly man," Rev. 
Francis Bright, in praise and prayer. At first, health blesses the 
laborious pioneers; their boards are crowned with plenty, and they 
rejoice in being at peace. But winter approaches, and brings 
with it sickness and a dearth of provisions. Spring opens, 
and their faithful friend, the Sagamore, starts them from their 
dream of security, by revealing to them the " conspiracy " of the 
hostile tribes to cut them off. The duty of self-preservation then 
supersedes all other duties. They all, — " men, women and chil- 
dren," — repair to the Town Hill, and there work at "digging 
and building," until they complete a fortification. 

But the peninsula " is full of Indians," who are attentive specta- 
tors of this infant colonization. With what wonder do they re- 
gard each note of preparation ! They follow the engineer as he 
goes from point to point with his curious instruments, "model- 
ing " the town ; and then carry tidings of the strange things they 
see, to the Saunks of the late King Nanepashemit. She, in all her 
Queenly dignity, with the Powwow of the Tribe in her train, 
comes down from her residence in the woods, to verify for herself 
the wonderful reports. The " Squa Sachem " gazes curiously 
upon each household implement; while her son, Won oh aqu ah am, 
notes each timber in the construction of the "Great House." As 
he watches these things his countenance is unmoved, and he ut- 
ters only the customary " ugh." But as he beholds the white 
man's stated and simple sacrifice to the Great Spirit, another feel- 
ing is awakened ; until at length, Indian stoicism relents into the 
confession, that an answering chord is touched in his own undis- 
ciplined breast. Ere he dies, his spirit longs for communion with 
the "Englishman's God." 1 

And as, at intervals of their labors, the founders of the town 

1 New England's First Fruits. 


survey the surrounding scenery, it is not strange that they kindle 
into admiration and enthusiasm. Nature blooms in its virgin 
freshness and magnificence. The peninsula, with its fine eminen- 
ces sloping gently to the river side, is " generally filled with stately 
timber;" and over it roam freely the wild tenants of the forest: 
but it presents to the scientific observer, a site for one of the most 
beautiful towns in the world. 1 And the prospect from its hill-tops 
is one, that, for beauty accompanied with variety, is seldom equal- 
led. If the eye turns towards the sea, the harbor 2 reflects like a 
mirror from its polished surface, the emerald isles that gem its 
bosom : 3 if toward the land, the hills all around, crowned with 
forests, form a natural amphitheatre of unsurpassed loveliness. 
But the only traces to be seen of man are the fortified abode of 
Maverick on the neighboring island, the cottage of Blackstone by 
the hills of Shawmut, the smoke from the wigwams of the natives, 
and their birch canoes gliding over the waters. How changed has 
become the scene from these summits ! The same sky spreads 
over them ; the same waters flow below them ; there is the same 
splendid amphitheatre. But now the works of man mingle with the 
vesture of nature. Immediately about them are the hum of in- 
dustry, and the dwellings, school-towers, and churches, of a free 
population. Where there was the solitary residence of Maverick, 
there is a thriving city. Tri-mountain is a forest of human 
abodes, and far-famed for its triumphs of art, and commerce, and 
freedom ; and, nestling among the surrounding hills, are the 
halls of learning, the asylums of benevolence, and circles of 
flourishing towns, with their altar-spires pointing towards Heaven. 
The old trails of the savage are crossed by the iron paths of the 
steam car. In place of his frail skiffs dancing upon the waves, 
there are sails from every clime moving among the islands, 
and among them, the giant forms of our National war-ships, 
riding in their splendid repose; while, on the Mount of 
Sacrifice, sublimely rising " over the land and over the sea," 

1 Dwight's Travels, vol. i. p. 466. 

2 Hubbard, p. 17, writes that Charles River, " affords as gallant an 
harbor near the mouth of it, as any river of that bigness in all Christen- 

3 A. H. Everett. 


stands the solemn monumental pile, speaking continually of 



The Indians; their connection with the town. — The Massachusetts.— 
The Pawtuckets. — Wood's Description. — The Tarratines. — Nan- 
epashemit. — Sepia Sachem. — Webcowit. — Wonohaquaham. 

The Spragues found Mishawum 1 full of Indians who were 
called Aberginians. 2 Their chief gave them his free consent to 


settle in the peninsula. To follow this friendly reception, there 
are none other than friendly relations to detail between the early 
inhabitants and the fading red man. The former took care to 
satisfy the original owners of the soil before they divided the land; 
if injury was done, by a reckless citizen, to their corn, or swine, or 
property, the law ordered prompt restitution ; no Indian was 
allowed to be held in bondage, and their old fishing-places were 
respected. The inhabitants, on their stated training days, mus- 
tered about their wigwams. Though thus intimately connected, 

1 The records name a spring in the peninsula that was overflowed by 
the tide, which became so brackish that the prevalent mortality was 
ascribed to its use ; and that the inhabitants, in 1630, were informed by 
Blackstone that there was plenty of water at Boston. After analyzing a 
a few Indian names for springs, and remarking upon the customs of the 
natives in relation to them, a writer in Mass. Hist. Soc. Call., (vol. xx. 
p. 173,) comes to the conclusion, that Mishawumut (meaning the Indian 
name of Charlestown) ''meant "a large spring:" and that Shaw- 
mut, (the Indian name of Boston,) meant, " fountains of living waters." 
He says: " The result seems almost conclusive, that when the spring 
at Mishawumut (Mishawum) " a great spring," was overflowed by the 
tide, the aborigines were probably in the daily habit of crossing over in 
their canoes to the opposite peninsula to procure fresh water, where springs 
were excellent and abundant. Hence the name Shawmut, " fountains of 
living water." Tradition and the town records, — " west side of the 
north-west field," — locates this " large spring," not far from the site 
of the Winthrop Church, on the shore to the south of the State Prison. 

2 " Abergenymen," a name given by the English to the natives.— 
Roger Williams Key. 


there is no tale of blood to rehearse, of encounters between the 
citizens and the natives. The "gentle" chief died in peace : the 
widow of their late King, Nanepashemit, " old and blind," proba- 
bly here ended her days. A few pages of this work may surely be 
properly devoted to a remembrance of the first occupiers of the soil. 

A few years previous to the settlement of the country, the In- 
dians in this region were exceedingly numerous. Smith (1614) 
saw on the sea-coasts, "great troops of well-proportioned people," 
and " salvage gardens ; " and estimates the number inhabiting the 
islands of " the Massachusetts," at three thousand. 1 The mouth 
of Charles River was their general place of rendezvous. But 
wars among themselves and disease, so reduced their numbers, that 
at the time of the colonization of Massachusetts, they presented 
but the shadow of their former greatness. 

The two nations that governed the circle of territory around 
Boston harbor, and running back into the interior, were the Paw- 
tuckets, and the Massachusetts. The latter "were a numer- 
ous and great people." Their chief Sachem was, Chikataubut. 
His dominion was bounded on the north and west by Charles 
River, and on the south, extended to Weymouth and Canton." 2 
It included Shawmut, whose Sachem's name was Obbatinua. 
Previous to the terrible mortality of about 1613, this tribe could 
bring into the field three thousand warriors. At the time of the 
settlement its mumbers were inconsiderable. 

The Pawtuckets had a dominion extending north and east of 
Charles River ; " and they had under them several other smaller 
Sagamores, as the Pennakooks, (Concord Indians,) Agawomes, 
(at Ipswich) Naamkeeks, (at Salem) Pascatawayes, Accomintas 
(York) and others." 3 It extended as far east as Piscataqua, and 
north, as far as Concord on the Merrimack. 4 It included Misha- 
wum. They were also a great nation, and could boast of their 
three thousand warriors ; but they were almost destroyed by the 
great sickness of about 1616. They generally lived in peace with 
the Massachusetts tribe. 5 In 1621, the Boston Sachem, Obbatinua, 
was at enmity with the Squa Sachem of the Massachusetts tribe. 6 

i Smith in Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xxxvi. p. 119. 

2 Lewis's Hist. Lynn, p. 45. 

3 Gookin, Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. i. p. 149. 

4 Lewis. 5 Gookin. 6 Young's Chronicles, p. 225. 


Wood, in his chapter "On the Aberginians," has furnished the fol- 
lowing description of this people : it may, perhaps, answer equally 
as well for the Indians of Canada or of Florida, so similar have 
been found their characteristics : 1 

" First of their stature, most of them being between five and 
six foot high, straight bodied, strongly composed, smooth skinned, 
merry countenanced, of complexion somewhat more swarthy than 
Spaniards, black haired, high foreheaded, black eyed, out-nosed, 
broad shouldered, brawny armed, long and slender handed, out- 
breasted, small waisted, lank belleed, well thighed, flat kneed, 
handsome grown legs, and small feet : In a word, take them when 
the blood brisks in their veins, when the flesh is on their backs, 
and marrow in their bones, when they frolick in their antique de- 
portments and Indian postures; and they are more amiable to 
behold (though only in Adam's livery) than many a compounded 
phantastic in the newest fashion. It, may puzzle belief, to con- 
ceive how such lusty bodies should have their rise and daily sup- 
portment from so slender a fostering ; their houses being mean, 
their lodging as homely, commons scant, their drink water, and 
nature their best clothing." 2 

The dreaded enemy of these tribes, was the tribe of Tarra- 
tines, who lived on the bay and waters of the Penobscot. They 
were more " brave, wise, lofty-spirited and industrious than many 
others," and on terms of intimate intercourse with the French. 3 
They were a " hardy and warlike people," writes Gorges. 4 Their 
great sachem was Nultonanit. 5 In 1621, when the Plymouth 
men visited the Massachusetts' tribes, the latter dared not " to 
lodge a second night in the same place, for fear of them, 6 and 
after the settlement of the country, they would fly to the houses of 
the English for a shelter from their fury; for the Tarratines were 
accustomed yearly, at harvest, to come down in their canoes, and 
reap their fields, and carry away their corn, and destroy their 
people." 7 It was this warlike tribe that (1631, Aug. 8) in* their 

i Bancroft, vol. iii. p. 3. 2 N. E. Prospect, p. 54. 

3 Williamson's Maine, vol. i. p. 215. 

4 Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xxxvi. p. 91. 

5 Lewis's Lynn. 

6 Drake, Hist. Indians, b. ii. chap. 3. 7 Planter's Plea. 


canoes, one hundred strong, at night attacked Sagamores John 
and James, wounded them and others, and killed seven men. 1 

The great Sachem of the Pawtuckets was Nanepashemit, or 
the New Moon. He lived at Lynn until the war with the Tarra- 
tines in 1615. His dominion, at one time, extended to the Piscat- 
aqua River to the east, and to Concord on the Merrimack ; while 
the Nipmucks, as far as Pocontocook, now Deerfield, acknowl- 
edged his authority. He removed to the banks of Mystic Riv- 
er, after 1615, where he was killed in 1619. 2 When the Pil- 
grims of Plymouth visited Boston harbor, they heard of the fame 
of this chieftain and saw his grave. Winslow gives the following 
account of his residence and burial place (Sept. 21, 1621). " On 
the morrow we went ashore, all but two men, and marched in 
arms up in the country. Having gone three miles, we came to a 
place where corn had been newly gathered, a house pulled down, 
and the people gone. A mile from hence, Nanepashemit, their 
king, in his lifetime, had lived. His house was not like others, 
but a scaffold was largely built, with poles and planks, some six 
foot from the ground, and the house upon that, being situated on 
the top of a hill. Not far from hence in a bottom, we came to a 
fort, built by their deceased king ; the manner thus. There were 
poles, some thirty or forty feet long, stuck in the ground, as thick 
as they could be set one by another ; and with them they enclosed 
a ring some forty or fifty feet over ; a trench, breast high, was 
digged on each side ; one way there was to go into it with a bridge. 
In the midst of this palisado, stood the frame of a house, wherein 
being dead, he lay buried. About a mile from hence, we came 
to such another, but seated on the top of a hill. Here Nanepash- 
emit was killed, none dwelling in it since the time of his 
death." 3 

This sachem left a widow and four children. Their names are, 
1. Wonohaquaham, Sagamore John, of Mystic. 2. Montowam- 
pate, Sagamore James, of Lynn, who died in 1673. 3. Wenepoy- 
ken, Sagamore George, of Salem, who, after the death of his bro- 

1 Savage's Winthrop, vol. i. p. 59. 

2 Lewis's Hist. Lynn ; Smith ; Hubbard. 

3 Young's Chronicles, p. 229. Shattuck, Hist. Concord, p. 2, locates 
his principal place of residence in Medford, near Mystic Pond. 


thers and his mother, became Sachem of the Pawtuckets, He died 
in 1684. 4. A daughter, Yawata. 1 

The Saunks, or queen of Nanepashemit, Squa Sachem, con- 
tinued the government. In 1621, she was at enmity with the Sa- 
chem of Boston, and this year the latter made it one of the condi- 
tions of submission to the English, that they would grant them 
protection against her. 

Previous to 1635, she married Webcowit, the physician of the 
tribe — "its powow, priest, witch, sorcerer, or chirurgeon." She 
continued to be the Q,ueen, and the Powow became King in right 
of his wife. 2 " It does not appear that he was much respected or 
thought of." 3 The apostle Elliot, in his " Clear Sunshine of the 
Gospel," gives the following account of some of the questions he 
asked, when the English were endeavoring to convert the Indians. 
This " old Powow's " question was " to this purpose :" " Seeing 
the English had been twenty-seven years (some of them) in this 
land, why did we never teach them to know God till now 1 Had 
you done it sooner," said he, " we might have known much of 
God, by this time, and much sin might have been prevented, but 
now, some of us are grown old in sin, &c." 4 

In 1637, the Squa Sachem, with Webcowit, deeded a large 
tract of land in Musketaquid, (Concord) — one of the principal 
villages of the Indians, — to the English. On this occasion, 
" Wibbacowitt," in particular, received a suit of cotton cloth, a 
hat, a white linen band, shoes, stockings, and a great coat, as a 
part of the consideration. In 1639, the same Indian deeded to 
Charlestown the tract of land now part of Somerville ; also, ano- 
ther tract, to Jotham Gibbons, of Boston. At this time she styled 

1 Lewis's Hist. Lynn. Shattuck says, p. 2, the king left five children. 

2 The Powow is next the King, or Sachem, and commonly, when he 
dies, the Powow marries the Squa Sachem, that is, the Queen. — Letch- 
ford. Morton, however libellous on the Colonists, is thought, to have giv- 
en a good account of the Indians. Having stated their easy life, he con- 
cludes as follows. " They may be accounted to live richly, wanting no- 
thing that is needful ; and to be commended for leading a contented life, 
the younger being ruled by the elder, and the elder ruled by the Powahs, 
and the Powahs are ruled by the Devill, and then you may imagine what 
good rule is like to be amongst them." — New English Canaan. 

3 Drake. 4 Mass. Hist, Coll., vol. xxxiv. p. 55, 
5 Shattuck's Concord. 


herself " Squa Sachem of Mistick." In the deed to Charlestown, 
the Squa Sachem reserves to her use her old fishing-places and 
hunting grounds, until her death. 1 

In 1644, the Squa Sachem, and other Sachems, submitted them- 
selves to the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. They promise to be 
true and faithful to the government, to give " speedy notice " 
of any conspiracy, attempt, or cruel intention, they may hear of 
against it, and to be willing to " be instructed in the knowledge 
of God." In relation to this, Winthrop writes, that "we causing 
them to understand the articles, and all the ten commandments of 
God, and they freely assenting to all, they were solemnly received, 
and then presented the court with twenty-six fathom more of wam- 
pum ; and the court gave each of them a coat of two yards of 
cloth, and their dinner ; and to them and their men, every one 
of them, a cup of sack at their departure." They went away 
" very joyful." Having become old and blind, the Squa Sachem 
is supposed to have died in 1667. 2 

The only other sachem, whose history is immediately connect- 
ed with Charlestown, is Wonohaquaham, who lived at Mystic, 
" upon a creek which meets with the mouth of Charles Riv- 
er." 4 This was the Sagamore John, characterized in the Re- 

1 From the description in the deed, the Town Records, and tradition, 
it is probable that one of the residences of the Squa Sachem was near 
" Gardner's Row," now part of West Cambridge. 

~ Lewis's Hist. Lynn, p. 47. The following document, however, shows 
that the Squa Sachem died previous to this year. It is copied from the 
Registry of Deeds, Middlesex, vol. ii. 

" Mr. Francis Norton and Nicholas Davison, do in the name of the in- 
habitants of Charlestown, lay claim to the tract of land, reserved to Squa 
Sachem daring her life-time, and which is at present possessed and im- 
proved by Thomas Gleison of Charlestown, this land bounded on the east 
by Mistick Pond, on the west by Cambridge Common, on the south by 
the land of Mr. Cooke, on the north formerly in the possession of Mr. 
Increase Nowell. 

This demand and claim was made in the person of John Fennell, 
and Mr. Wm. Sims, the 25th of March, 1662, at the house of Thomas 

Entered 29th March, 1662, by T. Danforth. John Fennell, 

Signed, Wm. Simmes. 

3 Hutchinson, vol. i. pp. 408. 410. Drake, b. ii. chap. 3, says, how- 
ever, that he lived at Rumney Marsh, (Chelsea). Rev. John Hig- 
ginson's deposition sustains Hutchinson. He lived, probably, at both 


cords as of " gentle and good disposition," who always " loved 
the English, and gave them permission to settle here, and who re- 
vealed to them the conspiracy of 1630." His limits included 
Winisemit. Dudley describes him as " young, handsome," " con- 
versant with us, affecting English apparrell and houses, and speak- 
ing well of our God." But he did not command more than thirty 
or forty warriors. 

In 1631, a servant of Sir Richard Saltonstall burnt two of his 
wigwams. Dudley gives the following relation of this event. 

" Before the depparture of the shipp (w'ch yet was wind bound) 
there came vnto vs Sagamore John and one of his subiects require- 
inge sattisfaction for the burning of two wigwams by some of the 
English which wigwams were not inhabitted but stood in a place 
convenient for their shelter, when vppon occasion they should trav- 
aile that wayes. By examination wee found that some English 
fowlers haueing retired into that which belonged to the subiect 
and leauing a fire therein carelessly which they had kindled to 
warm them were the cause of burninge thereof; ffor that which 
was the Sagamores wee could find noe certaine proofe how it was 
fired, yet least hee should thinke vs not scedulous enough to find 
it out and soo should depart discontentedly from vs, wee gave both 
him and his subiects sattisfaction for them both." 

Sir Richard was ordered to make satisfaction, " which he did 
by seven yards of cloth, and that his servant pay him, at the end 
of his time, fifty shillings sterling." 

In 1631, he was at Agawam, (Ipswich,) on a visit, when the 
Tarratines made their fierce attack on Mascononomo, when he 
was wounded. In 1632, with thirty of his men, he went with 
Chikataubut to aid Canonicus, chief of the Narragansetts, in a war 
against the Pequots. He died in 1632, at Winisemit, of the small 

In New England's First Fruits, there is the following interest- 
ing detail of his last hours : 

" Sagamore John, prince of Massaquesers, was from our very 
first landing more corteous, ingenious, and to the English more 
loving than others of them ; he desired to learne and speake our 
language, and loved to imitate us in our behaviour and apparrell, 
and began to hearken after our God, and his wayes, and would 
much commend English men, and their God, saying (much good 


men, much good God), and being convinced that our condition 
and waves were better farre then theirs, did resolve and promise 
to leave the Indians, and come live with us ; but yet kept down 
by feare of the scoffes of the Indians, had not power to make good 
his purpose : yet went on not without some trouble of mind, and 
secret plucks of conscience, as the sequel declares; for being 
struck with death, fearfully cryed out of himselfe that he had not 
come to live with us, to have knowne our God better : ' But now, 
(said he) I must die, the God of the English is much angry with 
me, and will destroy me ; ah, I was afraid of the scoffes of the 
wicked Indians ; yet my child shall live with the English, and 
learne to know their God when I am dead ; ile give him to Mr. 
Wilson, he is a much good man, and much loved me : ' so sent 
for Mr. Wilson to come to him, and committed his onely child to 
his care, and so died." * 

He left by will, all his wampum and coats to his mother, and 
his land about Powder-Horn Hill, to his son, and in case of his 
decease, to his brother George. 2 


1630 to 1631. — Objects of the Puritans. — The Winthrop Emigration. 
— Roger Clap's visit. — Arrival of Winthrop. — Situation of the Col- 
ony. — Deaths. — Samuel Fuller's Letter. — Fortitude of the Suffer- 
ers. — Removal. — Settlements. — Reflections. 

While the inhabitants were struggling through the winter, the 
Massachusetts Company 3 were making preparations to add largely 

i Hubbard, p. 651, adds, " Whether the child answered the father's 
desire or no, is not known, but the contrary feared." 

2 Felt's Annals of Salem, p. 17. 

3 In the Massachusetts Archives, Lands, p. 1., there is a document 
which asserts that Sir William Brereton also sent over several families. 
It gives the history of his title as follows : — " Sir William Brereton dies 
leaving Thomas, his only son, afterwards Sir Thomas, and Susanna his 
daughter. Sir Thomas dies without issue. Susanna marries Edmund 
Lenthall, Esq., and dies leaving Mary, her only daughter and heir. 



to their number. The resolution had been taken, by Winthrop 
and his associates, to transform themselves, by the bold step of 
carrying the charter with them, from a Commercial Corporation 
into a Provincial Government. The causes that led to this result 
will be found in the general histories : the motives that actuated 
the multitude that were about to people this then " terrible wilder- 
ness," are, perhaps, well and concisely stated by contemporary 
writers. " Necessitie," says one of them, " may presse some ; 
noveltie draw on others ; hopes of gaine in time to come, may pre- 
vail with a third sort : but that the most sincere and godly part 
have the advancement of the Gospel for their maine scope, I am 
cofident." 2 " The propagation of the Gospel," — the Company 
write, 1629, — " is the thing we do profess above all to be our aim 
in settling this plantation." 3 But though the spread of the Gospel, 
in the stern form of Puritanism, became the main aim of the col- 
onists, yet both their eulogists and their denunciators admit, that 
they also looked, both here and in England, to a higher political 
liberty. " These men," said Laud, " do but begin with the 
Church, that they might after have the freer access to the State." 

The first vessel of the fleet that carried over those who emigra- 
ted with Winthrop, arrived at Nantasket on the 30th of May, 
1630. Roger Clap, was in this ship, — the Mary & John, — and 
gives the following account of his visit to this town : — 

" When we came to Nantasket, Capt. Squeb, who was Captain 
of that great ship of Four Hundred Tons, would not bring us into 
Charles River, as he was bound to do ; but put us ashore and our 
Goods on Nantasket Point, and left us to shift for ourselves in a 
forlorn place in this Wilderness. But as it pleased God, we got a 
boat of some old Planters, and laded her with Goods; and some 
able men well Armed went in her unto Charlestown : where we 

Mary is married to Mr. Levett, of the Inner Temple, who claims the said 
lands in right of Mary his wife, who is heir to Sir William Brereton and 
Sir Thomas Brereton. 

" Sir William Brereton sent over several families and servants, who 
possessed and improved several large tracts of the said land, and made 
several leases as appears by the said deeds." 

Brereton sided with the Parliament in its contest with Charles I, and 
led its troops at the siege of Chester, in 1644. In the History of Chester, 
may be found his summons to this city to surrender, with an account of 
the siege. 

1 Planter's Plea, written in 1630, p. 36. 2 Letter, April 17. 



found some Wigwams and one House, and in the House there was 
a Man which had a boiled Bass, but no Bread that we see ; but 
we did eat of his Bass, and then went up Charles River, until the 
River grew narrow and shallow, and there we landed our Goods 
with much Labor and Toil, the Bank being steep. And Night 
coming on, we were informed that there were hard by us Three 
Hundred Indians ! One English Man that could speak the In.- 
dian Language, (an old planter,) went to them and advised them 
not to come near us in the night ! And they hearkened to his 
counsel, and came not. I myself was one of the Centinels that 
first night : Our captain was a Low Country Souldier, one Mr. 
Southcot, a brave Souldier. In the Morning some of the Indians 
came and stood at a distance off, looking at us, but came not near 
us : but when they had been a while in view, some of them came 
and held out a great Bass towards us ; so we sent a man with a 
Bisket, and changed the cake for the Bass. Afterwards they sup- 
plyed us with Bass exchanging a Bass for a Bisket-Cake, and were 
very friendly unto us." 

On the 12th of June, the ship in which Winthrop embarked, 
arrived at Salem ; on the 17th he sailed, in a boat, up Mystic 
River ; on the 18th he stopped at Maverick's Fort x on Noddle^s_ 
Island ; on the next day he returned to Salem, and reported favor- 
ably for building at " Charlton." On the 1st of July he had ar- 
rived here, and during this month, the greater part of the fleet ar- 
rived safely into port. 

l By this time, Samuel Maverick " had built a small fort with the help 
of Mr. David Thomson," Johnson, b. i. chap. 17, who was the first 
occupant of Thompson's Island in the harbor, where the 'Farm School 
is. Hon. James Savage, Winthrop, vol. i. p. 27, concludes, from the 
language of this writer, that Maverick came either in 1628 or 1629. 
Josselyn, 1638, praises him for his hospitality, pronouncing him " the 
only hospitable nun in all the country, — giving entertainment to all com- 
ers gratis," Voyages in Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xxxiii., while Johnson 
sets him down " as an enemy to the reformation in hand, being strongly 
for the Prelatical power." However the latter might be, the General 
Court granted to him Noddle's Island. But he was obliged to pay " to 
the governor for the time being" " either a fat weather, a fat hog, or 
jGIO in money." The Court also reserved to this town and Boston, the 
right " to fetch wood continually, as their need requires, from the south- 
ern part of said Island." " Winisemet Ferry, both to Charlestown and 
Boston, was also granted to him forever." — Savage's Winthrop, vol. i. 
p. 27. Oldmixon, 1741, says that "Nettles" Island, " within these 
few years was esteemed worth 2 or 300/. to the owner, Col. Shrimp- 
ton," vol. i. p. 194. 


The condition in which Winthrop found the Colony, was sad 
and unexpected. Smith thus describes it. " They found three- 
score of their people dead, the rest sick, nothing done, but all com- 
plaining, and all things so contrary to their expectation, that now 
every monstrous humor began to show itself." * " All the corn 
and bread amongst them all hardly sufficed to feed them a fort- 
night." " But bearing these things as they might," 2 some began 
to look about them for places of settlement, while the multitude 
set up " cottages, booths and tents," about the Town Hill. The 
Records give the history of this arrival as follows : — 

" In the months of June and July, 1629, (1630,) arrived at this 
town John Winthrop, Esq., Governor, Sir Richard Saltonstall, 
Knt., Mr. Johnson, Mr. Dudley, Mr. Ludlow, Mr. Nowell, Mr. 
Pinchon, Mr. Broadstreete, who brought along with them the 
Charter, or patent, for this jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay, 
with whom also arrived Mr. John Wilson, and Mr. Phillips, Min- 
isters, and a multitude of people, amounting to about fifteen hun- 
dred, brought over from England in twelve ships. The governor 
and several of the Patentees dwelt in the Great House, which was 
last year built in this town by Mr. Graves, and the rest of their 

" The multitude set up cottages, booths and tents, about the 
Town Hill. They had long passage ; some of the ships were 
seventeen, some eighteen weeks a coming; many people arrived 
sick of the scurvy, which also increased much after their arrival 
for want of houses, and by reason of wet lodgings in their cot- 
tages; and other distempers also prevailed. And although peo- 
ple were generally very loving and pitiful, yet the sickness did 
so prevail, that the whole were not able to tend the sick as they 
should be tended ; upon which many perished and died, and were 
buried about the Town Hill. 

" By which means provisions were exceedingly wasted, and no 
supplies could now be expected by planting; besides, there was 
miserable damage and spoil of provisions by sea, and divers came 
not so well provided as they would, upon a report whilst they were 
in England, that now there was enough in New England. And 

1 Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xxxiii. p. 40. 2 Dudley's Letter. 



unto all this, there were [some, imprudently selling much of the 
remainder] l to the Indians, for beaver. All which being taken 
into consideration by the governor and gentlemen, they hired and 
dispatched away Mr. William Pearce, with his ship, of about two 
hundred tons, for Ireland, to buy more, and in the mean time went 
on with their work for settling. In order to which they, with Mr. 
John Wilson, one of the ministers, did gather a church, and chose 
the said Mr. Wilson pastor, — the greatest number all this time 
intending nothing more than settling in this Town, for which the 
governor ordered his house to be cut and framed here. 

" But the weather being hot, many sick and others faint after 
their long voyage, people grew discontented for want of water; 
who generally notioned no water good for a town but running 
springs ; 2 and though this neck do abound with good water, yet for 
want of experience and industry none could then be found, to suit 
the humour of that time, but a brackish spring in the sands, by 
the water side on the west side of the northwest field, which could 
not supply half the necessities of that multitude. At which time 
the death of so many was concluded to be much the more occa- 
sioned by this want of good water." 

One witness writes, that " many died weekly, yea, almost 
daily;" 3 another says that, " almost in every family lamentation, 
mourning, and woe were heard, and no fresh food to cherish 
them." 4 There were, among the deaths, some of the most hon- 
ored and excellent of the Colonists. Rev. Francis Higginson was 
one of the victims. Early in August, the Lady Arbella, 5 wife of 

1 The words in brackets are supplied from Prince, p. 313, — the man- 
uscript being illegible. 

2 This "notion" respecting running springs operated, at one time, 
unfavorably for Roxbury. On the 6th of Dec, 1630, the governor and 
most of the assistants, and others, met there and agreed to build a town. 
And a committee was appointed to make the necessary arrangements. 
But when this committee met at Roxbury eight days later, it was con- 
cluded not to build a town there, and one reason that weighed against the 
place was, " There was no running water ; and if there were any springs, 
they would not suffice the Town." — Savage's Winthrop, vol. i. p. 38. 

3 Johnson. 4 Dudley. 

5 " The Lady Arrabella, and some other godly women, abode at Salem, 
but their husbands continued at Charlestown, both for the civil govern- 
ment and gathering of another church." — Wonder-working Providence. 


Isaac Johnson, died, leaving an envied name ; and during this 
month, Mrs. Pynchon, Mrs. Coddington, Mrs. Phillips, and Mrs. 
Alcock. On the 20th of September, William Gager died, " a 
right godly man, a skilful chyrurgeon," who had been chosen 
deacon ; and on the 30th, Isaac Johnson, the wealthiest of the 
company, and a warm friend of the Colony, followed his deceased 
partner. He died in Christian peace and resignation ; declaring 
his life better spent in promoting this plantation than it would 
have been in any other way. On the 23d of October, Mr. Ros- 
siter died, another highly esteemed associate, and one of the as- 

Among those present at this gloomy period, was Samuel Fuller, 
one of the fathers of Plymouth, and an eminent surgeon. He re- 
mained several weeks, sympathizing with the sufferers, but unable 
to supply requisite medicines. On the 2d of August, he writes 
to Gov. Bradford of Plymouth : " The sad news here is that 
many are sick and many are dead ; the Lord in mercy look upon 
them ! Some are here entered into church covenant, the first was 
four, namely, the Governor, Mr. John Winthrop, Mr. Johnson, 
Mr. Dudley, and Mr. Wilson ; since that five more are joined 
unto them, and others it is like will add themselves to them daily. 
The Lord increase them both in number and holiness, for his 
mercy's sake. I here but lose time and long to be at home : I 
can do them no good, for I want drugs and things fitted to work 
with." i 

" It was admirable to see with what Christian courage many car- 
ried it amidst these calamities." 2 It was chiefly Winthrop's calm 
decision that sustained the courage of his associates. 3 In the midst 
of the suffering, he wrote to Mr. Johnson, at Salem, "representing 
the hand of God upon them in the prevailing sickness," and ap- 
pointing July 30, a day of fasting and prayer. On the 9th of 
Sept. he wrote to his wife, then in England, in the following lan- 
guage : " I praise the good Lord, though we see much mortality, 
sickness, and trouble, yet (such is his mercy) myself and children, 
with most of my family, are yet living and in health, and enjoy 
prosperity enough, if the afflictions of our brethren did not hold 
under the comfort of it. * * * I thank God, I like so well to 

1 Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. iii. p. 76. 2 Johnson, 3 Bancroft. 


be here, as I do not repent my coming ; and if I were to come 
again, I would not have altered my course, though I had foreseen 
all these afflictions. I never fared better in my life, never slept 
better, never had more content of mind." 1 

Immediately upon the arrival of the colonists, differences arose 
respecting places of settlement; for Salem, where they landed, 
" pleased them not." Several were sent " to the Bay," — Boston 
harbor, — "to search up the rivers for a convenient place." 
Ou receiving their reports, — some being in favor of Mystic, some 
of " Charlton," some of a place "three leagues up Charles River," 
— the goods were " unshipped into other vessels, and with much 
cost and labor, brought in July" to this town. But after this, 
they " received advertisements by some of the late arrived ships 
from London and Amsterdam, of some French preparations " 
against them. They changed their original intention of establishing 
themselves in one town, and for their " present shelter," resolved 
to " plant dispersedly." 2 " This dispersion," Governor Dudley 
writes, " troubled some of us, but help it we could not, wanting 
ability to remove to any place fit to build a Towne upon, and the 
time too short to deliberate any longer lest the winter should sur- 
prise us before we had builded our houses. The best council we 
could find out was to build a fort to retire to, in some convenient 
place, if any enemy pressed thereunto, after we should have for- 
tifi3d ourselves against the injuries of wet and cold." The Town 
Records assign the want of water as the chief reason why the great 
body of those who had remained here through the months of July 
and August, determined to remove to Shawmut and other places. 
Immediately after the paragraph already printed, these Records 
furnish the following history of the " dispersion : " — 

" This caused several to go abroad upon discovery ; some went 
without the neck of this town, who travelled up into the main till 
they came to a place well watered, whither Sir Richard Saltonstall, 

1 Winthrop, vol. i. p. 377. 

2 Dudley's Letter. As it was written March 12, 1631, it takes pre- 
cedent of the Town Records, where the two authorities differ. It was 
written at Boston. The author says, " haveing yet no table, nor other 
room to write in, than by the fireside upon my knee, in this sharpe win- 
ter; to which my family must have leave to resorte, though they break 
good manners, and make mee many times forget what I would say, and 
say what I would not." 


Knt., and Mr. Phillips, minister, went with several others and set- 
tled a plantation, and called it Wattertowne. 

" Others went on the other side of Charles River, and there 
travelled up into the country, and likewise finding good waters, 
settled there with Mr. Ludlow, and called the plantation Dorches- 
ter, whither went Mr. Maverick and Mr. Warham, who were their 

" In the meantime, Mr. Blackstone, 1 dwelling on the other side 
of Charles River, alone, at a place by the Indians called Shawmutt, 

1 William Blackstone was the eccentric Episcopal clergyman and the 
first English occupant of Boston. He was at Shawmut when Charies- 
town was founded : How long had he been there? He had a cottage : 
Who built it? He claimed the whole peninsula, and the inhabitants ac- 
knowledged his right to it by buying it of him. On what was his claim 
founded ? 

Letchfbrd says, Mass. Hist. Collections, vol. xxxiii. p. 97, he " went 
from Boston, having lived there nine or ten years." If ten years, it 
would bring his arrival to about 1625. Hopkins, Hist. Rehoboth, p. 3, 
who published ninety years after Blackstone's death, says he had been at 
Boston " so long as to have raised apple trees and planted an orchard," 
when the Mass. Colony came. Mr. Savage, Winthrop, vol. i. p. 45, con- 
cludes that he had occupied the peninsula several years before 1628. 
These authorities unite in establishing the time as far back as 1625, — pos- 
sibly a year earlier. 

It was about this time, or in 1624, that Robert Gorges left his interests 
here " to the charge and custody of his servants and certain other under- 
takers and tenants." — Hazard, vol. i. p. 191. Four years later, 1628, 
the inh eritor of these interests, John Gorges, authorized Blackstone, 
Hazard, vol. i. p. 268, to give Oldham the possession of the land which 
had been leased to him. Does not this show that Blackstone was connect- 
ed with this patent ? Is not the inference a just one, that he was one of 
the " undertakers " alluded to above? And if so, that he came over with 
Gorges and occupied under a grant from him ? 

Mather, Magnalia, vol. i. p. 226, and Hutchinson, vol. i. p. 26, say that 
Blackstone claimed the whole peninsula upon which Boston is built, be- 
cause " he was the first that slept upon it." See also, Snow's Hist. p. 
52. Perhaps Walford might have advanced such a claim in relation to. 
Charlestown, when he " confronted the magistrates." Such claims could 
not be allowed : for however prodigal or avaricious the Plymouth Council 
might have been in selling patents, " all the right of soil which the gov- 
ernment at home could give, was, by the charter, given to the " Massa- 
chusetts Company." (Savage). But it may be asked; why should our 
ancestors have expelled Walford and bought out Blackstone ? Perhaps 
because of the friendly offices of the latter during the suffering of 1630. 

There is a tradition, current in the neighborhood where this eccentric 
individual last resided, that the Company were disposed at first to deprive 
him of his land, and that he made a characteristic and spirited resist- 
ance. — Hist. Rehoboth, p. 3. The early writers say, that he told the 
Puritans that " he came from England because he did not like the Lord's 


where he only had a cottage at, or not far off, the place called 
Blackstone's Point, he came and acquainted the governor of an 
excellent spring there, withal inviting him and soliciting him thither. 
Whereupon, after the death of Mr. Johnson and divers others, the 
governor, with Mr. Wilson and the greatest part of the church 
removed thither : whither also the frame of the governor's house, 
in preparation at this town, was (also to the discontent 1 of some) 
carried when people began to build their houses against winter, 
and this place was called Boston. 

" After these things, Mr. Pinchon and several others, planted be- 
twixt Boston and Dorchester, which place was called Roxbury. 

" Now, after all this, the Indians' treachery being feared, it was 
judged meet the English should place their towns as near together 
as could be, for which end Mr. Dudley and Mr. Broadstreete, with 
some others, went and built, and planted between Charlestown and 
Waterton, who called it Newtown (which was afterwards called 

" Others issued out to a place between Charlestown and Salem, 
called Saugust, (since ordered to be called Lynn. 2 ) 

" And thus by reason of discouragements and difficulties that 

Bishops, but he could not join with them because he did not like the 
lord's brethren." 

Blackstone took the degree of A. B. at Emanuel's College, 1617 : that 
of A. M. 1621 : (Mass. Hist. Coll.: vol. xxxviii. p. 247,) was assessed to 
pay for the campaign of Merry Mount, and named as an agent of Gorges, 
1628 : was freeman 1631 : had fifty acres of land set out to him near his 
cottage 1633 : sold all but six acres to Boston and removed to Rehoboth 
1634 : married Mary* Stevenson, widow, July 4, 1659 ; and died May 26, 
1675, leaving a son. 

The learned commentator on Winthrop says, that of the exact time 
when he pitched his tent at Boston " we shall, probably, remain forever 
uninformed." I have been able to add bat a fact and a suggestion to his 
valuable note. 

Full accounts of the latter part of his life, may be found in Bliss's Hist. 
Rehoboth, Dagget's Attleborough, and Mass. Hist. Collections, vol. 
xxix. p. 174. 

i In 1632, Savage, Winthrop, vol. i. p. 82, there was also discontent 
at Newtown, because the governor removed a frame he had set up there, 
in accordance with a promise he had made to build there. Winthrop's 
explanation was, "that he had performed the words of the promise, for 
he had a house up, and seven or eight servants abiding in it, by the day 
appointed." He gives good reasons for his removal to Boston. 

2 The interleaved Almanacs of Danforth, in Farmer and Moore's Coll., 
vol. iii. p. 292, give the annexed dates as the time when these towns 
" began : " 1628, Salem ; 1629, Charlestown, Lynn ; 1630, Dorchester, 


strangers in a wilderness at first meet withal, though as to some 
things but supposed, as in this case people might have found water 
abundant in this town and needed not to have perished for want, 
or wandered to other places for relief, would they but have looked 
after it. But this, attended with other circumstances, the wisdom 
of God made use of as a means for spreading his Gospel, and peo- 
pling of this great, and then terrible wilderness, and this sudden 
spreading into several townships came to be of far better use for 
the entertainment of so many hundreds of people that came for 
several years following hither, in such multitudes from most parts 
of old England, than if they had now remained altogether in this 

" But after their departure from this town, to the peopling and 
planting of the towns aforesaid, and in particular of the removal 
of the governor and the greatest part of our new gathered church 
with the pastor to Boston, the few inhabitants of this town re- 
maining, were constrained for three years after, generally to go to 
Boston on the Lord's day, to hear the word and enjoy the sacra- 
ments before they could be otherwise supplied." 

From April to December two hundred died : " It may be said 
of us almost as of the Egyptians, that there is not a house where 
there is not one dead and in some houses many." * It is not 
strange that some were disheartened and turned back — sailing 

Watertown, Roxbury, Boston; 1631, Marblehead, Cambridge, Wey- 
mouth : 1633, Ipswich ; 1634, Hingham. 

The Town Records date the settlement of Boston after the death of Mr. 
Johnson, which took place. Sept. 30. But in a rate levied by the Court of 
Assistants, Sept. 28, of j£50, Charlestown was assessed only £1 while 
Boston was assessed .£11. Mr. Savage says, Winthrop, vol. i. p. 95, 
that, in September the greater part of the congregation lived at Boston. 
The first meeting of the Company at Boston was held Oct. 19 : the first 
Court of Assistants Nov. 9. Snow dates the foundation of Boston from 
Sept. 7, when Tri-mountain was ordered to be called Boston. Hubbard 
says, that " about November the Governor and Deputy Governor, with 
most of the assistants, removed their families to Boston. 

The first Court of Assistants at Charlestown was held Aug. 23, on 
board the Arbella, Johnson says, which assertion, as to the place, Mr. 
Savage, Winthrop, vol. i. p. 30, questions. It was then, however, 
specially ordered that the next Court should be held " at the Governor's 
House," (the Great House) Sept. 7. There was another Court held 
Sept. 28, probably at the same place : after which, Oct. 19, the meet- 
ings were held at Boston. 

1 Dudley. 


with Captain Peirce for England. But this, no more than their 
suffering, discouraged the survivors. They professed themselves 
glad so to be rid of them. This experience, however, gave a dif- 
ferent tone to the letters from the Colony to their friends in Eng- 
land. " I say this," nobly wrote Dudley to the Countess of Lin- 
coln, March, 1631, "that if any come hither to plant for worldly 
ends, that can live well at home, he commits an error, of which he 
will soon repent him." " If there be any endued with grace, and 
furnished with means to feed themselves and theirs for eighteen 
months, and to build and plant, let them come into our Mace- 
donia, and help us, and not spend themselves and their estates in 
a less profitable employment : For others I conceive they are not 
yet fitted for this business." 1 

Such were the scenes, as described in the simple and touching 
language of the sufferers, that marked the second year of the his- 
tory of Charlestown and the settlement of Boston. The dead, say 
the Records, were buried about the Town Hill. 2 It was chiefly 
about this hill that the emigrants first built their " cottages." It 
continued, until the Revolution, to be the most populous part of 
the town. And there, on another day of trial, the homes of the 
descendants of these " first victims," became an early sacrifice 
on the altar of American liberty. Eulogy has exhausted itself 
in treating of the day of Bunker Hill. But not less worthy of 
commemoration are the firmness, the self-sacrifice, the Christian 
resignation, of the men, who thus, in tears and faith, founded the 
Colony of Massachusetts. 

1 Dudley's Letter. 

2 There is a tradition that there was anciently a grave-yard on the Town 
Hill. Human bones have been dug up in various places upon it. The 
last instance of this was, in digging this year, 1845, the cellar for the 
stores built by Mr. Joseph Thompson on the Square. Some of the bones 
consisted of parts of sculls in which the teeth were in a state of perfect 
preservation. But no part of this hill was ever laid out as a regular bu- 
rying-place, and the tradition is probably founded on the single instance 
mentioned in the Records. 



Organization of Local Government. — Boundaries. — Admission of Inhab- 
itants. — Division of Land. 

The New England towns, 1 in many respects, were peculiar. 
Not in the fact that such communities were formed here, for civil- 
ized society, from time immemorial, had gathered in cities, as 
naturally as savage society had clustered in villages : but pecu- 
liar in their independence, and the organization of their govern- 

This government, in the light of to-day so simple and reasonable, 
perhaps existed nowhere else. England did not furnish an exam- 
ple of it ; for its municipal governments were either vested in little 
councils first appointed by the crown, and which had the privilege 
of electing their successors ; or in persons who had acquired the 
title of freemen, who commonly consisted of but a small number of 
the resident inhabitants, and often even of non-residents ; or they 
were singularly connected with the local guilds or trade corpora- 
tions, as London is at the present day. These local governments 
failed to fulfil the commonest municipal purposes, until, in 1835, 
the municipal Reform Act, with few exceptions, re-constituted 
them. Scotland did not furnish such an example ; for there, a 
sweeping statute (1449) vested the government in the existing 
magistrates, with power to nominate their successors ; and in spite 
of the enormous evils that crept into their management, this sys- 
tem lasted nearly four centuries, or until the Reform Act of 1833. 
On the continent the municipal system, if possible, was still worse; 
in France, for instance, the local magistrates were all appointed 

i " The origin of town governments in New England, is involved in some 
obscurity. The system does not prevail in England. Nothing analogous 
to it is known in the Southern States, and although the system of internal 
government in the Middle States bears a partial resemblance to that 
of New England, it is in many respects dissimilar." Baylies' Ply- 
mouth, vol. i. p. 241. Baylies traces their origin to the independent 


by the crown, and the citizens even forbidden to assemble in town 
meeting to discuss their wants. 1 In all these cases the body of in- 
habitants had but little voice in controlling their townships. The 
nearest precedents for the New-England towns were those little 
independent nations, the free cities of the twelfth century ; or the 
towns of the Anglo-Saxons, where every office was elective. 2 

But in New England, from the first, the towns have been con- 
trolled substantially, by the body of inhabitants. Here they 
gathered in town meetings, made by-laws, decided upon rates, 
created offices and elected officers, before there appear on the co- 
lonial records laws authorizing such proceedings. This internal 
self-government was assumed. The General Court recognised the 
early towns and their government as such ; and in 1636, denned 
their privileges. 

The inhabitants of this town, for a few years, transacted all their 
local business in town meeting. In 1634, January 9, they " em- 
powered " a committee to "lay out any lots and make any rates " 
necessary for that year. A few months later, June 13, there was 
appointed a committee of three "to be at town meetings to assist 
in ordering there affairs." No other specification is given of the 
duties of this committee. But their local government was not yet 
to their minds : " by reason of many men meeting, things were not 
so easily brought unto a joynt issue." And, February 10, 1635, 

i Guizot's Civilization. 

2 Penny Cyclopedia : article Boroughs. The distinction in our towns 
between freemen and inhabitants will be noticed hereafter. In England, 
the freemen became such by purchase, birth, marriage, apprenticeship, 
and, in some towns, by the possession of property. In many towns it 
was necessary that the freeman, to complete his title, should be a member 
of one of the local Guilds or Trade corporations. Plymouth affords a 
good instance of the narrowness of the elective body, where, in a popula- 
tion of 75,000, there was (1835) but 437 freemen, of whom 145 were non- 
residents. In Elizabeth's reign, and also earlier, the right was assumed 
to remould, by Royal Charters, the municipal constitutions of the towns ; 
and, in place of the election of officers by the body of inhabitants, to vest 
the local government in small councils, originally nominated by the crown, 
and to be ever after self-elected. In vain did the inhabitants apply to the 
privy council to restore the old system of popular elections, even where 
council elections rested only on a custom that had grown up. The judges 
decided against such petitions : they decided not only that elections by 
select common councils were legal, "but that when such custom had 
grown up, the community at large were forever excluded from such elec- 


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the original proceeding on board the May Flower was imitated, in 
providing for the government of the town by Selectmen, in the fol- 
lowing " order" : — 

" An order made by the inhabitants of Charlestowne at a full 
meeting for the government of the Town by Selectmen. 

" In consideration of the great trouble and chearg of the Inhabi- 
tants of Charlestowne by reason of the frequent meeting of the 
townsmen in generall and yt by reason of many men meeting things 
were not so easily brought unto a joynt issue It is therefore agreed 
by the sayde townesmen ioyntly that these eleven men whose names 
are written one the other syde, (w'th the advice of Pastor and 
Teacher desired in any case of conscience,) shall entreat of all 
such business as shall conscerne the Townsmen, the choise of of- 
ficers excepted, and what they or the greater part of them shall 
conclude of the rest of the towne willingly to submit unto as their 
owne propper act, and these 11 to continue in this employment 
for one yeare next ensuing the date here ei ;; I '■'■ l '" 
of February 10:34 (1(3-5,. 
"In witness of this agree, aent jve 'A . 

have set o'r hands. 
Wm. Frothingham, Abra. Mellows, 
William Learned, 
Robt. Moulton, 
William Johnson, 
George Whitehand, 
William Baker, 

Robert Hale, 
Nicholas Stowers, 
Robert Blot, 
George Bunker, 
John Hall, 

Wilm, Gnash, 
Walter Pope, 
James Pemberton, 
Rice Coles, 
Thomas Minor, 
Richard Ketle, 
Edward Sturgis, 
George Felch, 
Thomas Lincoln, 

John Greene, 
Thomas Goble, 
Richard Sprague, 
Thomas S quite, 
William Sprague, 
Thomas Piearce, 
Edward Johnes, 
Rice Mauris, 
Robeart Shorthos, 
Geag. Hutchinson, 
Richard Palgrave." 

Anthony Eames, 
No town has a more perfect history of the formation of its local 
government than is here presented. Its form was evidently dicta- 
ted by experience. The original document, from which the accu 
rate fac-simile is taken, is preserved ; or, rather, only half of the 
sheet on which it was written. 1 Some may now think it a small 

1 The other half, on which were the names of the eleven persons chosen, 
is destroyed. On this half, probably, were also the signatures of the re- 


matter; once it was full of life and meaning. It was evidently re- 
garded as important business for the whole " to willingly sub- 
mit " to the doings of eleven men, as " their own propper act." In 
all probability, for months, this measure occupied the time, thoughts 
and prayers of the town. 

There arose difficulties very early, respecting the bounds of the 
towns, and the General Court settled them by defining their several 
limits. In 1633, March 6, it established the lines between this town 
and Newtown, (Cambridge) by ordering that the land " impaled by 
Newtown men, with the Neck thereto adjoining where Mr. Graves 
dwelleth, shall belong to the said Newtown " : while Charlestown 
bounds were to " end at a tree marked by the said pale, and to pass 
by that tree by a straight lino, unto the midway between the west- 
ermost part of the great lot of land " granted to John Winthrop, 
(Ten Hills) " and the nearest part thereto, of the bounds of Water- 
town." The court also granted " Mistick side " to this town (July 
2), — ordering that " the ground lying betwixt the North river and 
the creek on the north side of Mr. Maverick's, and up into the 
country, shall belong to the inhabitants of Charlestown." This does 
not say how far " up into the country " the tract ran. Another 
order, March 3, 1636, was more definite : " Ordered that Charles- 
town bounds shall run eight miles into the country, from their 
meeting-house, if not other bounds intercept, reserving the proprie- 
ty of farms, granted to John Winthrop, Esq., Mr. Nowell, Mr. 
Cradock, and Mr. Wilson, to the owners thereof, as also free in- 
gress and egress for the servants and cattle of the said gentlemen, 
and common for their cattle, on the back side of Mr. Cradock's 

It was not until 1636 that the lines were established between 
this town and Boston, It was, at first, uncertain to which Winis- 
imit belonged. The government ordered, May 14, 1634, that the 

raainder of the inhabitants, as there were seventy-two the succeeding Jan- 
uary. This curious document is carelessly copied into the first volume of 
the Records, — speaking but poorly for the general accuracy of the tran- 

The names of the first board of Selectmen were, Increase Nowell, Esq., 
Mr. Thomas Beecher, Edward Converse, Ezekiel Richardson, Walter 
Palmer, Ralph Sprague, William Brackenbury, Thomas Lynde, Mr. 
Abram Palmer, John Mousal, and Robert Moulton. 


people of that place, before the next General Court, should join 
themselves either to one town or the other, or they would " be laid 
then to one of those two towns by the court." On the 3d of Sep- 
tember it was ordered " that Winnissemit shall belong to Boston." 
In 1635, May 6, the lines between the two towns were definitely 
fixed. It would be difficult to follow them now. They ran from 
" one marked tree " to another ; from "the creek in the creek up- 
ward " to " a little neck of land " ; from " a tall pine upon a point 
of rock " to " the other side of Rumney Marsh " ; and " from out- 
side to outside by a strait line." This line did not satisfy the par- 
ties : for, March 28, 1636, there appears an agreement by which 
" the bounds between Boston and Charlestown, on the north-east 
side Mistick river, shall run from the marked tree upon the rocky 
hill above Rumney Marsh near the written tree no : no : west up- 
on a straight line by a meridian compass up into the country." 1 

The General Court, on the petition of the town, made it an ad- 
ditional grant (May 13, 1640) of " two miles at their head line, 
provided it fall not within the bounds of Lynn village and that they 
build within two years "; that is, lay the foundation of a new town, 
afterwards Woburn. On the 7th of October, another grant was 
made to the town : " the proportion of four miles square, with their 
former last grant to make a village, whereof 500 acres is granted 
to Mr. Thomas Coitmore to be set out by the court." In these 
grants " Cambridge line " was not to be crossed, nor were the 
bounds to " come within a mile of Shawshine river." The " great 
swamp and pond " were to lie in common. 

This completes the grants, — so far as boundaries are concern- 
ed, — from the General Court to the town. Still, the farms, the 
proprietorships of which were reserved to the owners by the order 
of 1636, were not considered as belonging to the towns where they 
lay, until 1641, when the Court ordered (June 14) "that all farms 
that are within the bounds of any town should be of the Town in 
which they be, except Meadford." 2 

The inhabitants parcelled out the land within these limits. But 

1 This agreement is signed by Abraham Palmer, William Cheesbo- 
rough, and William Spencer. 

2 The connection that existed between Charlestown and Cradock's 
Farm or Medford, will he found stated in subsequent pages. 


who were inhabitants? Those only who were admitted such 
by vote of the town. For many years applicants were severely 
scrutinized, and not unfrequently refused a residence. " Not for 
their poverty," Johnson writes ; correctly of this early period, for 
it will give a vivid idea of its prejudices to say, that the towns 
then dreaded a Quaker as much, as later, they dreaded a pauper. 
" Yet," continues Johnson, a zealous actor in municipal affairs, 
" such as were exhorbitant, and of a turbulent spirit, unfit for a 
civil society, they would reject till they come to mend their man- 
ners." 1 Credentials that applicants were church members, or of 
good moral character, were required. Persons, in some towns, 
were admitted on condition that they would bring their wives 
from abroad. 2 

The persons who brought Charlestown " into the denomination 
of an English town" (1629) were approved by Gov. Endicott. The 
next notice respecting inhabitants occurs (163!$) in the "list of 
such as staid and became inhabitants" after the removal. After 
this date, inhabitants were admitted by a vote of the town. 
As early as 1634, October 13, it was ordered "that none be per- 
mitted so sit down and dwell in this town without the consent of 
the town first obtained" ; and February 21, 1637, " that no free- 
man should entertain any in their houses, but to give notice thereof 
at the next town meeting," and " none that are not free should 
entertain any without the consent" of three of the Selectmen. 
This year the General Court passed a law, providing that none 
from abroad should reside in any town without the consent of one 
of the counsel, or two of the magistrates, under penalty of one hun- 
dred pounds ; and the next year a more stringent municipal order of 
this town (April 3, 1638) provides that, " no freemen shall enter- 
tain any person or persons at their houses, but to give notice to 
the Townsmen (Selectmen) within fourteen days; and such as 
are not free, not to entertain any at all without consent of six of 
the men deputed for the town affairs ; and these to acquaint the 
town therewith at their next meeting, upon penalty of ten shil- 
lings for every month that they keep them without the town's 
consent ; and the constable is to see this order observed from time 

i Wonder Working Providence, chap. 22. 2 Felt's Salem, p. 167. 


to time, and to gather up the aforesaid fines by way of distress." 
Nor was this by any means a dead letter : this year, Faintnot 
Wines and Nicholas Stowers were fined " ten shillings a piece 
for receiving inmates without license from the town." Hospi- 
tality, for a long time, continued to be an expensive virtue. 

If a person applied for admission who, it was thought, would be 
a valuable acquisition, there was no hesitancy. Thus, (1637) 
" Mr. John Harvard is admitted a townsman with promise of such 
accommodations as we best can" : "Mr. Francis Norton is admit- 
ted a Townsman if he please." If the circumstances of the ap- 
plicant were doubtful, there was a different vote : in 1635, " Good- 
man Rand granted to set down with us upon condition the Town 
have no just ground of exception" ; in 1636, " Ralph Smith was 
admitted a month upon trial ;" in 1637, James Hoyden was ad- 
mitted " if the court give way ;" John Mosse, " newly out of his 
time," was admitted " for this year to live with his master in his 
family upon trial" ; " Timothy Ford upon his good behaviour was 
admitted to plant and to be at Richard Kettle's for planting time, 
or to propound another place." In 1638, — "Turner was permit- 
ted for the present to sojourn with Henry Bullock till next meet- 
ing, in mean time to be enquired of." 

The first, and most important work of the Colonists was the di- 
vision of the soil. According to the terms of the Company, each 
person who came over " at his own cost," was entitled to fifty 
acres ; each adventurer of fifty pounds in the common stock, to 
two hundred acres, or in this proportion ; those who brought over 
servants were allowed fifty acres for each, and grants were made, 
also, in consideration of eminent service rendered the Colony. 
On such considerations, a large part of the tract called Charles- 
town, was granted ; the farms of Winthrop, Nowell and Wilson, 
referred to in the boundary description, were of this class. So 
was, also, the great farm set off to Matthew Cradock. All these 
were granted by the General Court before the bounds of the town 
were established. 

After townships had been defined, lands within their limits 
were divided by their inhabitants. In general divisions, the tract 
to be allotted was agreed upon in town meeting. A committee 
was appointed, generally the " seven men," with other principal 
inhabitants, to survey it, stake out the lots and number them. 


Sometimes the inhabitants would draw lots for their shares, some- 
times they were assigned by the committee. Record was made 
of the lots in the town books, with the conditions upon which 
they were granted, and this constituted the title of their owners. 
The considerations that governed these local divisions were, the 
number of persons an inhabitant had in his family ; the number 
of cattle and other stock he was able to own ; and " eminent res- 
pect " was given to " men of eminent quality and descent, in 
assigning them more large and honorable accommodations in re- 
gard of their great disbursements to publike charges." One of 
the conditions the General Court imposed was, that no man should 
" set his dwelling house above the distance of half a mile or a 
mile at the furthest, from the meeting of the congregation, where 
the Church" usually assembled. 1 

The inhabitants of this town, in 1629, agreed that each should 
have two acres for planting ground and to fence in common; and 
in 1630, that each, " dwelling within the Neck " should have " two 
acres of land for an house plot, and two acres for every male that is 
able to plant." In 1634, each inhabitant had ten acres of land al- 
lotted to him " at Mistick Side," but the next year, twenty 
nine " willingly relinquished " five acres of their ten acre lots 
" for the good of the town," — " that it might supply new comers." 
Though these votes indicate that the land was divided equally, 
yet next year, ( 1 635 ) in a 1 arge division of hay grounds, • — two hun- 
dred and thirty-one and a half lots among sixty-three inhabitants, 
— the largest number any one had was fifteen lots ; the smallest, 
half a lot ; and the conditions on which they were allotted, were, 
that no one should have the right to dispose of any lot until he had 
built and planted in town, nor then to any but inhabitants of the 
town ; nor were any to have lots who " did not resign up half their 
ten acre lots on Mistick Side, for the accommodation of such 
brethren that want." And in 1638, when a large allotment of land, 
now Maiden, was made, the largest share was two hundred and 
sixty acres, and the smallest ten acres. 

Besides these general divisions, each inhabitant, on being admit- 
ted, commonly had a grant of a lot of land. This was done, at 

!Laws of New England, 1641, in 3d vol. of Force's Tracts, p. 8. 
Felt's Salem, p. 181. In 1635, Salem voted that " the least family shall 
have ten acres, but great families may have more." 


first, in general town meeting ; after a few years, by the board 
of selectmen. These grants were, usually, without restriction. 
Sometimes, however, there were such provisos as the following : 
in 1633, Jonathan Wade had thirty acres, " provided he plough it 
up in four years or else to lose it, except so much of it as he shall 
break up in that time :" in 1635, Stephen Fosdick had a house 
plot, " upon condition to build a good house upon it and pay good- 
man Richeson a day's work : " in 1636, Mr. Green had " a cows 
hay and a house plot, provided he build and live upon it : " in 1637, 
Richard Perry had " eight acres of planting ground " " if his 
man stay or another come:" in 1638, John Brimsmead had a 
house plot " upon the condition that he demolish his new dwelling 

Such was the increase of inhabitants, that, in 1637, the town 
began to be more careful in granting land. It prohibited the 
"nine men" (selectmen) "from granting great lots other than ac- 
cording to apportion ;" and voted, that, " if any man sell his 
house or ground, he shall have no more allowed him." After 
this time inhabitants are frequently admitted with the proviso that 
they are to have but small lots or none at all : this year (1637), 
Azpia Knight had liberty " to follow his trade and to have a house 
plot, if to be found, and no other land ; " Jervase Boyken, to " sit 
down, if we canto afford him a house plot, but no other ground ; " 
Goodman Fitt, a tailor, " to set up a salt pan, if he can live upon 
it, and upon his trade, without any land;" and in 1638, Rich- 
ard Hill, a cooper, " to buy a house and follow his trade, with- 
out any accommodation of land or otherwise." After this period, 
admissions are less frequent, and are generally without any grants. 

The division of the soil occupied a large part of the life of the 
early inhabitants. It was not done without jealousies and con- 
tests. Boston, in 1634, left off some of its chief men from its 
selectmen, because the majority feared that " the richer men 
would give the poorer sort no great proportions of land," but leave 
too much for " new comers " and common. And after divisions 
had been made, some would be negligent in looking after their 
lots, some would take what did not belong to them ; stakes were 
pulled up, and bounds destroyed. Hence occurred " great dark- 
ness of title," and much dispute. The aggrieved would peti- 
tion the General Court, which sometimes appointed commission- 


ers to visit the town, hear the parties, and settle their differences. 
An award of this kind at Watertown, fills several folio pages. 

The land in this way, was broken into farms and house lots. 
In the first general divisions, the humblest, — for the widow and 
the orphan were not forgotten, — had something, though no more 
than half a lot in the " hay grounds," or a single " cows com- 
mons." Independent proprietors were thus created, holding their 
lands in fee simple, free from the feudal exactions that were so 
oppressive in other countries. And then followed the wise legis- 
lation, that made their transfer, at length, simple and free. Such 
a policy was the fruitful parent of an independent spirit. When 
these lands had been adorned by labor and defended by valor, 
their possessors felt that they owned them, and ought to control 
them ; and that the legislation which their circumstances required, 
ought to be determined by themselves, rather than by those, thou- 
sands of miles off, who, necessarily, must be ignorant of their 
wants. The native growth of this influence, with other influ- 
ences, was destined to be "a perfect independence and an intelli- 
gent republicanism " l 


1630 to 1640. — The Town after the removal. — Extracts from John 
Greene's Relation. — Fort at Moulton's Point. — Ten Hills. — Spot 
Pond —Summer of 1632.— Winter of 1632-3. — Wood's Descrip- 
tion. — Indian Mortality. — The Great House. — A School. — Love- 
well's Island. — The Common Stinted. — The Pequod War. — Indian 

The records indicat3 that the condition of the inhabitants was 
not much relieved by the " dispersion." Winter, December 24, 
1630, set in with uncommon violence, and the prospect before 

1 Edward Everett's Orations, p. 87. Another has remarked of the N. 
E. Colonists, — " it maybe fairly said, 'that this necessary act (division of 
lands) fixed the future frame and form of their government." — Web- 
ster's Plymouth Oration, 1820. 


them was cheerless, for famine, almost stared them in the face. 
" Oh the hunger," writes Roger Clap, most probably referring 
to this period, — " that many suffered and saw no hope in an eye 
of reason to be supplyed only by clams, and muscles, and fish. 
Flesh of all kinds was a rare thing, and bread was so very scarce 
that sometimes I thought the very crumbs of my father's table 
would have been sweet unto me. And when I could have meat and 
water and salt, boiled together, it was so good, who could wish 

The records furnish the following account of the first proceed- 
ings of the town, after the removal, with the names of those who 
remained : it concludes the transactions of 1630. 

"A list of the names of such as staid and became inhabitants 1 of 
this town in this year 1629, (1630) following : 

"Increase Nowell, Esq., William Brakenburry, 

Mr. William Aspinwall, Rice Cole, 

Mr. Richard Palsgrave, Hugh Garrett, 

Edwd. Convers, Ezekiel Richeson, 

Wm. Penn, John Baker, 

Wm. Hudson, John Sales, 
Mr. John Glover. 

Capt'n Norton, ") These four went and built 

Mr. Edward Gibbons, 
Mr. Wm. Jennings, 
Jno. Wisnall. 

in the maine on the north- 
> east side of the north-west 
creeke of this town. 2 

"Agreed and concluded by the inhabitants of thistowne that the 
great cornfield shall be on the east side of the Town Hill, the 
fence to range along even with those dwellings 3 where Walter Pa- 
mer's house stands and so along towards the neck of land, and that 
to every inhabitant dwelling within the neck be given two acres 

i Dr. Bartlett (in Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll.), and Snow (Hist. Boston, 
p. 34), with others, say ; but " seventeen male inhabitants " remained in 
town. This is certainly incorrect, as those of 1629 continued to reside in 
town ; the seventeen in the text are to be added to the original settlers. 

2 Johnson says, Wonder Working- Providence, chap, xvii., one mile dis- 
tant from Maverick's " upon the river ran a small creek, taking its name 
from Major Gen. Edward Gibbons, who dwelt there for some years after." 
This location would be on Mystic side, or in Maiden. 

3 This was the beginning of Main-street. 


of land for an house plot and two acres for every male that is 
able to plant : But in consideration of the greatness of the charge 
in fencing down to the neck of land, it is concluded that that be 
suspended at present, and that only a cross fence be drawn at the 
neck of land from Misticke River to the water on the west of the 
neck, which being computed ariseth to one pole and two foot the 
acre for so many acres as are at present allotted : And that the 
cattle be kept without upon the maine. 

" But now as the winter came on, provisions began to be very 
scarce upon the grounds aforesaid, and people were necessitated 
to live upon clams, and muscles, and ground nuts, and acorns, and 
these got with much difficulty, in the winter time ; upon which peo- 
ple were very much tired and discouraged, especially when they 
heard that the Governor himself had the last batch of bread in the 
oven. And many were the fears of people, that Mr. Pearce, who 
was sent to Ireland to fetch provisions, was cast away, or taken by 
pirates : But God who delights to appear in greatest straights, did 
work marvellously at this time ; for before the very day appointed 
to seek the Lord by fasting and prayer, about the month of Feb- 
ruary or March, in comes Mr. Pearce ] laden with provisions ; 
upon which occasion the day of Fast was changed, and ordered to 
be kept as a day of Thanksgiving : Which provisions was (were) 
by the Governor distributed unto the people according to their ne- 
cessities. 5 ' 2 

1 The ship Lyon. She anchored in Boston harbor Feb. 9, 1631. Her 
cargo of stores consisted of 34 hhds. wheat meal, 15 Iihds. peas, 4 hhds. 
oatmeal, 4 hhds. beef and pork, 15 cwt. of cheese, butter, suet, &c. 
They arrived in good condition. On the 22d, by order of the Governor, 
a thanksgiving was appointed. 

2 The extracts from the town records on pages 12, 13, 14. 20, 21. 24, 
25. 41, 42. 44 to 47, and the above extract, contain about five and a 
quarter pages of the seven described on page 2 of this work ; and also 
in the order in which they stand on the records. The spelling of the 
writer is not adhered to, except in the case of proper names. And here 
he spells the same words differently: It is " Mishaum " in one place, 
and " Mishawum " in another: " Waterton " and " Wattertowne :" 
Walter " Pamer " in the first pages of the records and then Walter 
'•Palmer." This difficulty occurs throughout the volume. But strange 
as it is that one living so near the time of the settlement should have 
been so incorrect as to dates, — for they cannot be explained by reference 
to the then prevalent system of double dating — yet we cannot but thank 
the author of it for transmitting to us so valuable a relation. 

After this date (1631) the records appear to have been copied, with 


1631. It was concluded to build a fort " on the hill at Moul- 
ton's Point," and mount the " six guns left by the company" last 
year upon the beach of this town, for defence " in case ships'should 
come up on the back side of Mistick River." The next year, 
however, the project was abandoned, as the town records say, by 
" sounding the mouth of Mistick River, the channel lies so far off 
from Moulton's Point towards Winnesemit side, that the erecting 
a fort on the hill will not reach that end." 

The Court, September 6, granted to Governor Winthrop, six 
hundred acres of land and " near his house at Mistick," which he 
named ten Hills. Here he built a bark of thirty tons, which was 
launched July 4th, and named " the Blessing of the Bay ;" and also 
built his " farm house." This place is often referred to in the town 
records as " Winthrop's Farm." He writes, October 30, that in a 
violent storm, two sides of an unfinished building of stone " laid 
with clay for want of lime," was washed to the ground. 1 

few exceptions, from memoranda made at the time the events took place. 
Prince, and others following him, have ascribed the account quoted in the 
text, to Increase Nowell, who appears to have been town clerk in 1636 
and 1637, and to have assisted Abraham Palmer in 1639. But he died 
nine years before this was written. This first volume is most carelessly 
bound, having four leaves dated 1635 and 1636 inserted, out of place, 
before this account. The following is the order of the Selectmen to Mr. 

" At a meeting of the Selectmen April 18, 1664, John Greene is ap- 
pointed by us to transcribe the records of this town and having begun the 
same in a book as far as to folio eight, most whereof is gathered by infor- 
mation of known gentlemen that lived and were actors in those times, and 
all except some court orders and some few town orders in the seven first 
pages not being of that concernment as the grants of lands which hap- 
pened after, we do approve of the same, and consent that what is written 
on those seven pages remain as it is, but for what follows the seventh 
page of that book we desire that all grants of lands or alienations be 
written verbatim as they stand in the old record without any alteration, 
only to place each grant-orderly in that place where it appears clear on 
the book, or otherwise to be placed as near as you can in its proper year. 
And as for such things that are obscure, or to be dubiously understood, 
relating to grants, &c, you are to clear themselves by the best evidence 
may be, and place such explanation only in the margin — and for other 
things that are not grants or alienations of lands you are to place orderly, 
and reduce them into the most brief and clear language you can. 

Ptir James Cary, Recorder. 

i Winthrop, under date of October 11, 1631, details the following ad- 
venture : — " The governour, being at his farm house in Mistick, walked 
out after supper, and took a piece in his hand, supposing he might see a 
wolf, (for they came daily about the house, and killed swine and calves, 


1632. Governor Winthrop, Mr. Nowell and others, went, Feb- 
ruary 7, over Mystic River at Medford, and going north and east 
about two or three miles, came "to a very great pond, having in 
the midst an island of about one acre, and very thick with trees 
of pine and beech ; and the pond had divers small rocks, standing 
up here and there in it, which they therefore called Spot Pond. 
They went all about it on the ice." For nearly a century this pond 
was within the limits of Charlestown. 1 

" The summer of this year," the town records say, " proved 
short and wet ; our crops of Indian corn (for all this while we had 
no other) was very small and great want threatened us, at which 
time here happened in this town the first known thief that was no- 
toriously observed in the country. His name was John Sales, 
who having stolen corn from many people in this scarce time, was 
convicted thereof before the court, and openly punished and all he 
had by law condemned and sold to make restitution, 

" This winter also proved very sharp and long, and people were 
exceedingly pinched for want of provisions, for their came very 
little over this year from England. But it pleased God to send an 
unexpected and early supply, for one Mr. Stratton arrived here 
with his vessel in the beginning of March laden with Indian corn 
from Virginia which he sold for ten shillings per bushel." 

1633. William Wood, having resided several years in the colony, 
sailed for England, August 15, where, in 1634, he published an inte- 
resting description of the country under the title of "New Eng- 

&c. :) and, being about half a mile off, it grew suddenly dark, so as, in 
coming home he mistook his path, and went till he came to a little house 
of Sagamore John, which stood empty. There he stayed, and having a 
piece of match in his pocket, (for he always carried about him match and 
compass, and in summer time snake-weed,) he made a good fire near the 
house, and lay down upon some old mats, which he found there, and so 
spent the night, sometimes walking by the fire, sometimes singing 
psalms, and sometimes getting wood, but could not sleep. Tt was (through 
God's mercy) a warm night ; but a little before dav it began to rain, and, 
having no cloak, he made shift by a long pole to climb up into the house. 
In the morning, there came thither an Indian squaw, but perceiving her 
before she had opened the door, he barred her out : yet she stayed there 
a great while essaying to get in, and at last she went away, and he re- 
turned safe home, his servants having walked about, and shot off pieces, 
and halloed in the night, but he heard them not." 

1 Winthrop, vol. i. p. 69. This year a fort was built on Corn Hill at 
Boston ; Winthrop writes " May 25, Charlestown men came and wrought 
upon the fortification." 








land's Prospect," accompanied by a map, which is dated 1635. 
This was the first map of New England, made after its settlement; 
the fac-simile of a section of it represents Massachusetts, probably, 
in 1633. Wood furnishes the following description of Charles- 
town : — 

" On the North-side of Charles River is Charles Towne, which 
is another neck of land, on whose North side runs Misticke-river. 
This towne for all things, may be well paralel'd with her neighbor, 
Boston, being in the same fashion with her bare necke, and con- 
strained to borrow conveniences from the Maine, and to provide 
for themselves farmes in the countrey for their better subsistance. 
At this towne there is kept a Ferry-boate, to conveigh passengers 
over Charles River, which betweene the two Townes is a quarter 
of a mile over, being a very deepe channell. Here may ride forty 
ships at a time. Vp higher it is a broad Bay, being above two 
miles betweene the shores, into which runnes stony-river, and mud- 
dy-river. Towards the south-west in the middle of this Bay, is a 
great oyster Bank. Towards the North-west of this Bay is a great 
creeke, upon whose shore is situated the Village of Medford, 1 a 
very fertile and pleasant place, and fit for more inhabitants than are 
yet in it. This Towne is a mile and a half from Charles Towne." 
After describing " New-towne " and " Water-towne," the writer 
goes on : " The next Towne is Misticke, 1 which is three miles from 
Charles Towne by land, and a league and a half by water: It is 
seated by the waters side very pleasantly ; there be not many houses 
as yet. At the head of this river are great and spacious Ponds, 
whither the Alewives preasse to spawne. This being a noted place 
for that kind of Fish, the English resort hither to take them. On 
the west side of this River the Governor hath a Farme, where he 
keeps most of his Cattle. On the East side is Maister Craddock's 
plantation where he hath impaled a Parke, where he keepes his 
Cattle, till he can store it with Deere. Here likewise he is at 
charges of building ships. The last year one was upon the stockes 
of a hundred Tunne, that being finished, they are to build one 
twice her burden. Ships without either Ballast or loading, may 

1 There was no town by this name ; nor was Medford a town until later. 
See note on Cradock's Farm. 


floate downe this River ; otherwise the oyster-banke would hinder 
them which croseth the Channell." 

During the winter of 1633-4 there was great mortality among 
the Indians. The town records say : " At this time began a most 
grevious and terrible sickness amongst the Indians, who were ex- 
ceeding numerous about us, (called the Aberginians) 1 their disease 
was generally the small pox, which raged not only amongst these, 
but amongst the eastern Indians also, and in a few months swept 
away multitudes of them, young and old, — they could not bury 
their dead, — the English were constrained to help ; and that which 
is very remarkable is, that though the English did frequently visit 
them in their sickness, notwithstanding the infection, it was ob- 
served that not one Englishman was touched with the disorder ; 
but it was extremely infectious among themselves, and mortal when 
it took any of them, insomuch as there was scarce any of them left : 
By which awful and admirable dispensation, it pleased God to make 
room for his people of the English nation who, after this, in the im- 
mediate years following, came from England by many hundreds 
every year to us, who (without this remarkable and terrible work 
of God upon the natives) would with much more difficulty have 
found room, and at far great charge have obtained and purchased 

Chickatawbut, November 30, with many of his tribe, Wonoha- 
quaham, (Sagamore John) December 5., Montowampate, (Saga- 
more James) and most of their people, were swept away. " The 
poore creatures," writes Johnson, "being very timorous of death, 
would faine have fled from it, but could not tell how :" and their 
"Powwows, Wizards, and Charmers, Hobbamocka's Factors were 
possest with greatest feare of any." " Relations," he adds, " were 
but little regarded among them at this time ;" and he details the 
terrible scenes that met the English as they visited " their matted 
houses." " It wrought much with them," writes Winthrop, " that 
when their own people forsook them, yet the English came daily 
and ministered to them." 

1634. The court granted Pettock's Island to this town for twenty- 
one years. In 1638, it was voted that " for the time to come the 

1 Though Wood describes the Aberginians as Northern Indians, yet 
Johnson, (Mass. Coll. vol. xxii. p. 60.) says " the Aberginny men " con- 
sisted "of the Massachusetts, Wippenaps and Tarratines." 


calves should be kept " there ; and " the keeper to have ground 
to plant there." 

1635. " Edward Converse, William Brackenbury, and Mr. 
Abraham Palmer were desired to go up into the country upon dis- 
covery three or four days," for which they were to be " satisfied 
at the charge of the Town." 

The Great House, which in 1632 had been purchased of the 
Company for ten pounds, and was the first meeting-house, was this 
year sold for thirty pounds, to Robert Long. The record is as 
follows : " Mr. Long was granted to have the Great House wholly 
when we shall be provided of another meeting-house, and to pay 
£od, and for the present to have the south end, and so much of the 
chamber as the deacons can spare, and when the congregation 
leaveth the house, the deacons are to have the plank and the boards 
which lie over the chamber with all the forms below and benches." 

1636. " June 3, Mr. William Witherell was agreed with to keep 
a school for a twelve month to begin the eighth of August, and to 
have <£40 this year ;" the same month in which John Oldham was 
killed by the Pequods. This simple record is evidence of one of 
the most honorable facts of the time, namely, that a public school, 
and judging from the salary, a free school at least for this " twelve 
month," was thus early established here; and on the principle of 
voluntary taxation. It may be worth while to remember also, that 
this date is eleven years prior to the so often quoted law of Massa- 
chusetts, compelling towns to maintain schools. 

The General Court, September 8, granted Lovell's Island to the 
town, " provided they employ it for fishing by their own townsmen, 
or hinder not others." 1 This island was rented, and the income 
of it, in a short time, applied regularly to the support of the school. 
The town records, under the date of 1634, state that the island was 
let for twenty years ; probably an error in the copyist. In 1648 the 
Court gave this island to the town forever, " provided that half of 
the timber and fire-wood shall belong to the garrison at the castle." 

1637. The large tract of land lying between Winter Hill Road 
and Cambridge was divided into rights of pasturage. A large 
committee was chosen to do this, or " to stint the common," who 
determined the number of " cows commons " which 113 inhabitants 

1 The Colony Records say 1636. 


should have in this pasture. The agreement was as follows: — 
"In consideration of the straitness of common on this side of Mis- 
tick River, it was agreed, that all the ground from the town to 
Menotomies River that is without the enclosures shall be reserved 
in common for such cattle as are necessarily to be taken care for 
near home as milch cows, working cattle, goats, and calves of the 
first year, and each man to have a propriety of the same, according 
to the proportions under written for such cattle above specified, 
either of their own or any they shall let unto of the same kind, and 
not other ways." The largest number any one had was ten and 
three-fourths commons ; the smallest, half a cows commons. 

In the war with the Pequod Indians, concluded this year, Charles- 
town furnished sixteen men, — first twelve, and then four. Sergeant 
Palmer, of this town, with twelve men, rendered efficient service 
at the great Swamp fight. Rev. John Wilson went with the troops, 
as chaplain ; and Thomas Starr, afterwards Town Clerk, as sur- 
geon. Of about six or seven hundred Indians, the commander of 
the expedition states that only about seven escaped. 

1638. " A true record " was taken of " all such houses and 
lands as were possessed by the inhabitants, whether by purchase, 
by gift from the town, or by allotments, as they were divided among 
them by a joint consent, after the General Court had settled their 
bounds, by granting eight miles from the old meeting-house into 
the country," and established, also, the other boundaries already 
quoted. This record is not perfect. Many of the descriptions 
are so indefinite that it is difficult, if not impossible, to locate 
the lots.' 

1639. The town refused in some cases to grant land outside 
the peninsula, until " the Indians had been agreed with." In 1637 
it paid thirty-six shillings to Squaw Sachem and Web Cowit, for 
land, now apartofSomerville, which they acknowledged themselves 
in Court " to be satisfied for; " and this year (1639) it purchased 
a large tract, part now Somerville and West Cambridge, of the 
same Indians, for nineteen fathoms of wampum, twenty-one coats, 
and three bushels of corn. The deed is recorded on Middlesex 
records, and the town records. 1 

l " The 15th of the 2d mo., 1639. 

Wee Web-Covvet and Squaw Sachem do sell vnto the Inhabitants of 
the Towne of Charlestowne, all the land within the line granted them by 
the court, (excepting the farmes and the ground, on the west of the two 



Ecclesiastical History, from 1630 to 1640. — The First Church. — Re- 
moval to Boston. — Separation. — John Wilson. — A new Church. — ■ 
Thomas James. — Divisions. — Zechariah Symmes. — Removal of Mr. 
James. — Antinomian Controversy. — John Harvard: his Monument. 
— Thomas Allen. — Church Officers. 

The first church gathered here, — the fourth in New England, 
— was organized at a time of severe suffering and mortality, when 
man is wont to feel the most deeply his sense of dependence. 
July 30, 1639, was a day of fasting; and after religious exercises, 
Governor Winthrop, Deputy Governor Dudley, Isaac Johnson and 
Rev. John Wilson, signed a covenant, 1 and thus constituted what is 
now the first church of Boston. On August 1st, Increase Nowell and 
four more joined this church, and in a short time the number in- 
creased to sixty-four men, and half as many women. On the 27th, 

great Ponds called Misticke ponds, from the south side of Mr. Nowell 's 
lott, neere the vpper end of the Ponds, vnto the little runnet that cometh 
from Capt. Cooke's mills, which the Squaw reserveth to their vse, for her 
life, for the Indians to plant and hunt vpon, and the weare above the ponds, 
they also reserve for the Indians to fish at whiles the Squaw liveth, and 
after the death of Squaw Sachem, she doth leave all her lands from Mr. 
Mayhue's house to neere Salem to the present Governor, Mr. John Win- 
throp, Sen'r, Mr. Increase Nowell, Mr. John Wilson, Mr. Edward Gib- 
ons to dispose of, and all Indians to depart, and for satisfaction from 
Charlestowne, wee acknowledge to have received in full satisfaction, twen- 
ty and one coates, ninten fathom of wampom, and three bushels of come: 
In witness whereof we have here vnto sett o'r hands the day and yeare 
above named. 

the marke of Squaw Sachem, m'c. 

the marke of Web Cowet, m. 
Subscribed in the presence off. 
Jno. Humphrey, 
Robert Heake. 

This is to testifie that the aforenamed purchase was made at the 
charges of the Inhabitants of Charlestowne, and to their use, and for so 
much as lyeth with in their limitts, we do accordingly resigne, and yield 
up all our interest therein, to the vse of the said towne, according to the 
trust reposed in vs. 10th mo. 18th, 1639. 

Jno. Winthrop, Gov'rn'r. 
Entered and recorded 23th (8 mo 1656, Increase Nowell, 
By Thomas Danforth, Recorder. Jno. Wilson. 

1 This covenant, see p. 70, was copied almost word for word, when the 
present First Church was organized in 1632. 


after a fast, John Wilson was elected teacher, Increase Nowell, 
ruling elder, William Gager 1 and William Aspinwall, deacons ; 
all of whom were severally confirmed in office " by the imposition 
of hands." It was understood, as it respected Mr. Wilson, that 
the ceremony "was only as a sign of election and confirmation, 
not of any intent that he should renounce the ministry which he 
received in England." 2 

The proceedings, however, recognised an important principle 
then struggling for life, that of Congregationalism. Here a body 
of Christians, of equal rank as such, voluntarily associated them- 
selves for social worship, and exercised " all the powers, rights, 
faculties and privileges, which are needful to construct and consti- 
tute a church of Christ ;" 3 all without the presence or permission 
of hierarchy, Protestant or Catholic. Such independent action was 
new in the world. It had been attempted, in part at least, by 
Robert Brown, the Lathrops, and John Robinson, in England, but 
their attempts were crushed. It was renewed successfully for the 
first time at Plymouth — that church being the first Congregational 
church in America. 4 The Salem church was the second; the 
Dorchester church, organized in England, the third. . This church 
was the fourth — one peculiarly dear to the early colonists, which 
they loved to honor " for its faith and order," " its eminent gifts of 
utterance and knowledge." 5 " Some have been heard to say," 
writes Hubbard, "they believed the church of Boston to be the 
most glorious church in the world." 

Provision was promptly made for the support of public worship. 
At the first court of assistants, August 23, " the first thing pro- 
pounded is, how the ministers shall be maintained." A house was 
ordered to be built " with convenient speed at the public charge," 
for Mr. Wilson, whose salary was to be twenty pounds a year until 
" his wife came over," and then thirty pounds. 

The body of the church remained in this town less than three 
months ; afterwards their place of worship was in Boston. The 
two towns continued united in one church for about two years. A 

1 Dr. Gager died Sept. 20, 1630 — his wife and two children the same 
year. He was a " right godly man, and skilful chirurgeon." (Dudley.) 
John, his son, went with the younger Winthvop to New London ; was 
(1660) one of the settlers of Norwich, Con., and had nine children. His 
descendants are still in Norwich. Hist. Norwich, p. 102. 

2 Winthrop's Hist. vol. i. p. 33. 3 Upham's Century Discourse. 
4 Young's Chronicles of Plymouth, p. 77. 5 Hubbard, p. 281. 


First Pastor ,,/' '{'hurled 


large part of this time, the Teacher was in England, — leaving, on 
his departure, March 30, 1631, the duty of prophesying, or exhor- 
tation, to the Governor, Mr. Dudley and Mr. Nowell. His place 
was soon supplied, however, by the arrival of Rev. John Eliot, the 
celebrated Apostle. 

Mr. Wilson returned May 26, 1632. A subscription of £120 
had been gathered for a meeting-house, which was now commenced 
by the united congregation. 

For two years, say the town records, the citizens were " con- 
strained" to go to Boston, "to hear the word and enjoy the sacra- 
ments, before they could be otherwise supplied." 1 On the 5th of 
June, 1632, Rev. Thomas James arrived, and the Charlestown part 
of the congregation, soon after, determined to form a new church. 
October 11 was a day of fasting; and on the 14th, agreeably to 
their request, thirty-five persons were dismissed from the old 
church, — constituting a quarter part of the congregation. The 
separation appears to have been, on both sides, friendly. 2 

Rev. John Wilson enjoyed, in an eminent degree, the confidence 
of his congregation, and that of his contemporaries. Winthrop 
commends him as " a very holy, upright man, and for faith and 
love inferior to none in the country and most dear to all men." His 
sermons are characterized as having been imbued with " marvel- 
lous wisdom;" his conversation, as "pleasant and profitable;" 
his benevolence to the poor, as unbounded. Mather has a long 
description of his character : " great zeal," " with great love," 
" joined with orthodoxy," " make up his portraiture." The histo- 
rian adds ; " he had the zeal of a Phineas, I had almost said of a 
Seraphim, in testifying against every thing that he thought offen- 
sive to God : " and in his sight, among things most offensive, were 
Anabaptists and Quakers. Hence Johnson's praise that he was 

. l ' Before they could build at Boston, they lived, many of them, in tents 
and wigwams at Charlestown ; their meeting-place being abroad under a 
tree, where I have heard Mr. Wilson and Mr. Phillips preach many a 
good sermon." — Roger Clap. There was, for many years, a tree known 
as the Charlestown Oak, referred to in 1719, by Judge Sewall. — Amer. 
Quarterly Register, vol. xii. Dr. Bartlett locates it on Town Hill, from 

? Prince (405) having given a history of the separation, remarks : — " I 
conclude, that Lord's Day, the 21st of this month, (October) is the first 
day of their worshipping in public as a distinct and new congregation at 
Charlestown." From July 30, 1630 to Oct. 10, 1632, one hundred and fifty- 
one members had joined in full communion with the church. 



"a powerful instrument" "for the cutting downe of error and 
schisme," " when it o'er topping stood." It is not strange that the 
sects that felt the effects of such zeal, should write of him with 
severity. He died August 7, 1667, aged 79. 

The thirty-five persons dismissed from the Boston church, formed, 
November 2, 1632, a distinct church, and elected Rev. Thomas 
James Pastor. This is now the first Congregational Society of this 
town. Its first covenant is recorded in the Church Book in the 
following manner : 

" Increase, Parnel, Nowell. 

" Tho:, Christian, Beecher. 

" Abra:, Grace, Palmer. 

" Ralph, Jone, Sprague. 

" Edward, Sarah, Convers. 

" Nicholas, Amy, Stowers. 

" Ezek:, Susan, Richeson. 

" Henery, Elizabeth, Harwood. 

" Robert, Jone, Hale. 

" Geo:, Margarit, Hucheson. 

" Tho:, Elizab:, James. 

" William, Ann, Frothingham. 

" Ralph, Alice, Mousall. 

" Rice, Arrold, Cole, 

" Richard, Mary, Sprague. 

"John, Bethiah, Haule. 

" William, Dade. 

" Thomas, Minor. 

" Thomas, Squire. 

The forme of the Covenant. 

" In the Name of o r - Lord God, 
and in obedience to his holy will and 
divine ordinances. 

" Wee whose names are heer writ- 
ten Beeing by his most wise and 
good providence brought together, 
and desirous to vnite o r - selus into 
one Congregation or Church vnder 
o r - Lord Jesus Christ our Head : In 
such sort as becometh all those whom 
he hath Redeemed and Sanctified 
unto himselfe, Doe heer Sollemly 
and Religeously as in his own most 
holy presence, Promice and bynde 
o r - selus to walke in all or wayes 
according to the Rules of the Gos- 
pell, and in all sinceer conformity to 
his holy Ordinances ; and in mutuall 
Love and Kespect each to other : so 
near as God shall give us grace. "1 

"Those were dismissed from 
Boston Church the 14th of the eaight 
moneth 1632." 

The pastor, Mr. James, was born in Lincolnshire, in 1592, and 
was in that place a settled minister, when the edicts against non- 
conformity drove him to this country. His connection with the 
society proved to be unhappy. Besides being of jealous disposition 

1 On the other side of the leaf on which the covenant quoted in the text 
was written, there is another in the following words : — 

" The Covenant proposed to particular persons for their consent when 
they are to be admitted, viz. : 

" You doe avouch the only true God [father son and Holy Ghost,] to be 
your God, according to the tenour of the covenant of his grace, wherein he 
promiseth to be a God to the faithful and their seed after them in their 
generations, and taketh them to be his people : and accordingly therefore 
you do give up your self to him, and doe solemnly and religiously, as in 
his most holy presence, covenant through his grace, to walk in all your 


and inclined to melancholy, his abilities may have compared unfa- 
vorably with those of his Boston contemporary. It is certain that 
his temper was not so amiable, nor were his talents so useful, as 
had been expected ; and dissatisfaction soon arose in the infant 
church. Winthrop remarks, March, 1633, that "Satan bestirred 
himself to hinder the progress of the gospel, as, among other prac- 
tices, appeared by this : he stirred up a spirit of jealousy between 
Mr. James and many of his people." Mr. Nowell and others began 
to question " their fact" of separation from their Boston brethren. 
It is not stated on what grounds ; but whatever they were, Win- 
throp writes, " it grew to such a principle of conscience among 
them, as the advice of the other ministers was taken in it, who after 
two meetings could not agree about their continuance or return." 
While in this divided state, Rev. Zechariah Symmes, (September 
1634,) arrived in this town. He was admitted, with his wife, a 
member of the church, December 6th, soon after elected teacher, 
and on the 22d, " a solemn day of humiliation," ordained to this 
office. This appears to have settled the question with its " princi- 
ple of conscience," as to the return of the members to the First 
Church. Mr. Symmes entered upon his duties with the reputation 
of being a firm and faithful Puritan divine. He was born at Can- 
terbury, April 5, 1599. His father, Rev. William Symmes, was a 
preacher, and was settled at Sandwich. His ancestors, contemporary 
with Queen Mary, had been zealous Protestants, shielding minis- 
ters from the effects of sanguinary laws. Zechariah, at eighteen 
years of age, entered Cambridge University, and took the first de- 
gree in 1620. After he graduated, he became private tutor " to 
certain persons of quality;" then, in 1621, a lecturer at Atholines 
in London, where he was troubled by the proceedings of the "Bish- 
ops' Courts." In 1625 he removed to Dunstable, where he was 
probably Rector. Here he resided eight years, and had six chil- 
dren. He removed to America, Mather says, on account of his 

waies, and in communion with this particular church in speciall, as a mem- 
ber of it, according to the rules of the gospell." 

This covenant, without date, was written sometime after 1632, as it 
evidently is in the handwriting of Rev. Thomas Shephard, who was 
ordained in 1659. It is worthy also of remark, that the important words 
in brackets, which are interlined in the original, are of different colored 
ink from the rest, and are as evidently in the handwriting of Rev. Charles 
Morton, who was installed in 1686. 


continued troubles from the " Bishops' Courts;" another account 
says, on account of the living being small in value, — his compen- 
sation not being enough to support his family. 1 On his arrival, he 
was invited to assist in gathering a new church, but the place 
being remote from those already settled, he accepted the invita- 
tion of this church. 2 Here, after a long and faithful ministry, he 
was to end his days. 

The settlement of Mr. Symmes was succeeded by increased dis- 
cord between the pastor and the people. Mr. James gave great 
offence by " divers speeches," for which Mr. Symmes and the 
brethren " dealt with him both privately and publickly." In a year 
" the elders and messengers of the next churches " were called in ; 
then, March 11, 1636, there was a council of ministers, when the 
pastor was blamed " for speaking as of certainty, that which he only 
conceived out of jealousy ; " 3 and the church was blamed, because 
" it had not proceeded with him in due order." The conclusion 
was, to advise Mr. James to ask his dismission; but if he refused, 
and still persisted, that then " the church should cast him out." 4 
The connection was dissolved. 

Mr. James, whom Dr. Calamy characterizes as " a very pious 
good man," soon, for the love of peace, 5 removed to New Haven. 
In 1642, in company with Rev. Messrs. Knowles of Watertown 
and Thompson of Braintree, he went to Virginia as a missionary. 
In a few years he returned to England, settled at Needham, Suf- 
folk county, and, August 24, 1662, was ejected for non-conform- 
ity. Still he gathered a large society and labored with them. He 
died in 1678, aged about eighty-six, much beloved and esteemed. 
His successor, though owing his benefice to the noble uprightness 
of Mr. James' heart, would not allow him to be buried in any other 
part of the church-yard, " but that unconsecrated corner left for 
rogues and other excommunicates." 

At this period the colony was excited by the Antinomian contro- 
versy. It originated with Mrs. Anne Hutchinson who came over 
in the same ship with the Rev. Zechariah Symmes, in 1634. She 
advanced opinions that were contrary to the prevailing belief. In 
meetings of Christians of her sex, she blended them with criticisms 

1 Savage's Gleanings, Mass. Coll., vol. xxxviii. p. 308. 2 Wonder 
Working Providence 3 Hubbard, p. 191. 4 Winthrop. 5 Prince, p. 413. 


on the sermons delivered on Sundays, and gained many adherents, 
— among whom were some of the eminent men of the colony. 
This was the Antinomian party, or those designated as " for the 
covenant of grace." The old colonists, comprising most of the 
ministers and elders, regarded her views as contrary to the Bible 
and dangerous to society, and became alarmed at her success. 
Hence they opposed them. These were the Legalists, or those 
designated as for " the covenant of works." 

The controversy thoroughly pervaded the country. It mingled 
with the doings of town meetings, and influenced the division of 
lands. It became an element of politics : Vane at the head of his 
friends, the Antinomians, on one side, and Winthrop, at the head of 
the Legalists on the other. The latter triumphed. A synod, con- 
vened at Newtown (Cambridge), August 30, 1637, condemned 
eighty-two errors ; the General Court soon afterwards, disfranchised, 
disarmed, and banished the leading Antinomians. 

In these proceedings, prominent Charlestown men zealously par- 
ticipated. Mr. Symmes, even when in England, saw that Mrs. 
Hutchinson " slighted the ministers," and on board the ship no- 
ticed " the corruptness and narrowness of her views." He had 
" reproved her vehemently," before she arrived. Hence he was 
prompt and active in opposition to her movements. Mr. Nowell, 
of equal sternness as a Puritan, was equally decided in his opposi- 
tion. Both questioned Mrs. Hutchinson on her trial. 1 On the 
other side, were prominent church members. One of the arbitrary 
acts of the General Court, was the condemnation and banishment 
of Rev. John Wheelright, Mrs. Hutchinson's brother, for " holding 
forth the covenant of grace," and " inveighing against those that 
walked in a covenant of works," in a Fast Day Sermon, January 
20, 1637. A remonstrance against this action was signed by many 
persons and handed in to the Court ; of this town were William 
Learned, Edward Carrington, Richard Sprague, Ralph Mousall, 
Ezekiel Richardson, Benjamin Bunker, James Browne, Thomas 
Ewar, Benjamin Hubbard, William Frothingham, William Baker, 
and Edward Mellows. The Court judged this paper, also, sedi- 
tious, and called its signers to account. Ten of the above-named 
persons acknowledged their " sin " in signing it, and desired to 

1 The questions and speeches of both Mr. Symmes and Mr. Nowell may 
be found in the account of the trial, in Hutchinson's Hist., vol. i. 



" have their names crossed out." Two, however, would do them- 
selves no such injustice ; namely, Benjamin Bunker and James 
Browne, and hence the constables of Charlestovvn received a war- 
rant in this shape ; — the body of the original is in Nowell's hand- 
writing ; the words in italics are interlined, and in that of Governor 
Winthrop : — 

" By order of the court, the armes of Benjamin Bunker and James 
Browne are to be delivered in to Goodman Thomas Lynde, to wit : guns, 
pistols, swords, powder, shot, and match, upon pain of jCIO, after notice 
given, or left at their houses, or within two days after, and the said par- 
ties are enjoined not to buy or borrow any of the aforesaid arms upon the 
penalty of <£10 aforesaid, until the court shall take further order therein, 
unless they acknowledge, (they did evil in subscribing the seditious libel) 
or give other satisfaction for their liberty, before two magistrates, which, 
if they shall do, they to be freed from delivering in of their arms. 

' • To the constable of Charlestown, per, 

Increase Nowell, Recorder. "i 

Another of the signers, Deacon Ralph Mousall, in 1638, was dis- 
missed from the General Court " for his speeches in favor of Mr. 
Wheelright." Such proceedings were arbitrary and tyrannical, and 
few, if any, attempt to justify, or to palliate them. Intolerance 
was the error of the age. 

On the removal of Mr. James, the whole care of the church 
devolved upon Mr. Symmes. The next year, however, Rev. John 
Harvard settled here. He entered Emanuel College, Cambridge, 
in 1628; took the degree of A. B. in 1631, and that of A. M. 
1635." 2 He was admitted an inhabitant, August 6, 1637 ; took the 
freeman's oath November 2d; was admitted, with his wife, Anne, 
a member of this church on the 6th, and " was sometime minister 
of God's Word " here, and hence an associate with Mr. Symmes. 
There is no account, however, of his ordination. 

His name is found a few times on the town records. He had a 
share in a division of land in 1637 ; and in 1638, in another division, 
his lot was nearly a third larger than that of Mr. Symmes. He is 
named, April 26, 163S, one of a committee " to consider of some 
things tending toward a body of laws," and had a grant 3 for a portal 

1 Mass. Archives. Ecclesiastical ; the copy is taken from a warrant ad- 
dressed to the constable of Roxbury. The reader will find an interesting 
detail of this extraordinary controversy in the Life of Anne Hutchinson, 
by Rev. George E. Ellis of this town. He passes the severest censure 
upon the Court for its whole proceedings with reference to the remon- 
strance ; nor will he admit " the least palliation." 

2 Savage's Gleanings. 

3 Nov. 27, 1637 ; " three and a half feet of ground for a portal." 


for his house. Such is all the information this source affords. He 
came here when religious controversy was vehement ; yet " he 
was not distinguished among the divines of the age as a disputant. 
He took a less beaten path to the veneration of after times, and a 
shorter road to Heaven." 1 " This man," writes Rev. Thomas Shep- 
herd, his contemporary, " was a scholar, and pious in his life, and 
enlarged toward his country, and the good of it, in life and death." 
Harvard died September 14, 1638, of consumption, bequeathing 
one half of his estate, estimated in value at .£779, 17s. 2c?., 2 with 
his library of three hundred and twenty volumes, 3 to the college, — 
" the earliest, the noblest, and the purest tribute to religion and sci- 
ence this western world had yet witnessed." 4 This high eulogium, 
be it remembered, is upon one of a class to whose generous ener- 
gies America owes somuch; for Harvard was but a young man 
when he thus manifested how truly he was " a lover of learning," 
and how ardently he desired that it should be enlisted in the cause 

1 Letter of John Quincy Adams. 

2 There is doubt about even the amount of Harvard's gift. The Col- 
lege Book says the sum in the text ; but only £"395, 3s. Od., is known 
to have been received. The authorities say " one half of his estate," and 
that he " died worth £1600." Probably the other half was bequeathed 
to his widow, for I find that she sold property. May not the library, (for 
books were of great value then,) have been valued on settling the estate, 
and formed one item of the half that went to the College ? This will ac- 
count for a part of the discrepancy. The precision in the sum named, 
indicates that " the whole estate " was inventoried at .£1559, 15s. 

3 Quincy's Hist., vol. i. p. 512. 

4 President Quincy's Hist., vol. i. p. 11. If Harvard entered college at 
17, he would have been 27 when he died. The General Court, May 3, 
1639, granted " Mr. Thomas Allen 500 acres of land in regard to Mr. 
Harvard's gift." From this vote, and the fact that Harvard's executor's 
name was Allen, I infer that this was Rev. Thomas Alien. Harvard's 
widow, Anne, had land allotted to her once, Dec. 30, 1638, and then her 
name disappears from the records ; nor have I met with any notice of her 
marriage or death. But when Rev. Thomas Allen was admitted and dis- 
missed from the Boston church, in 1639, his wife was not named ; nor is 
she named when he was, the same year, admitted to the church here, nor 
afterwards. Yet in 1640 he had a wife, whose name was Anne; and, 
January 11, 1640, his daughter, Mary, was born. Hence I conclude it 
very probable that he married Harvard's widow, already a member of the 
church. Her maiden name, if so, was Sadler, and her father lived in 
Patcham, England. — (Savage's Gleanings, Mass. Coll., vol. xxxviii. p. 
315.) Hence that town may have been the place of residence of Har- 
vard's family. Harvard built a house in this town,, which was standing in 
1697, situated on Gravel Lane, running from Main street, near its junction 
with the Square, to the Town Hill. A part of this estate — perhaps the 
whole of it — was once owned by Mr. Allen. — See hereafter the account 
of Rev. Thomas Allen. 


of religion and liberty. This great thought, with the act it dicta- 
ted, has enrolled his name among the benefactors of mankind. 

If tradition may be credited, " till the revolutionary war, a grave- 
stone was standing over the spot where his ashes repose." But 
this was destroyed at that period ; and, what is deeply to be re- 
gretted, no attempt was made to replace it. And thus it was, that 
for more than half a century, there was only tradition to point out 
the sacred place. On the 6th of September, 1827, a few gradu- 
ates of Harvard College were assembled at the house of Dr. Park- 
man of Boston, when one of the company, then an eminent citizen 
of this town, 1 proposed to erect a monument on the Burial Hill to 
Harvard's memory, and to defray the expense by a subscription 
from the graduates of the College, limited to one dollar from each 
person. The suggestion was approved ; measures were immediately 
taken to commence the work ; the selectmen of the town promptly 
gave their consent, and the object was successfully effected. 

On the 26th of September, 1S28, a large company assembled on 
the burying-ground to participate in this " act of filial reverence." 
After prayer by Rev. Dr. Walker, the monument was raised to 
its position on the hill ; a letter was read from Hon. John Q,. Adams, 
then President of the United States, and an address delivered by 
Hon. Edward Everett. The monument is " a solid obelisk, fifteen 
feet in height, four feet square at the larger extremity, and two at 
the smaller, and rises from a substantial foundation, without a base, 
from the surface of the ground." It is enclosed " by a simple iron 
railing, surrounding a space nine feet square, and stands in a beau- 
tiful and commanding situation." On the eastern face of the shaft, 
the name of Harvard is inscribed in large letters and in high relief, 
and this inscription, wrought in a white marble tablet : — 

" Dn the twenty-sixth 2 day of September, A. D. 1828, this stone was 
erected by the graduates of the University of Cambridge, in honor of its 
Founder, who died at Charlestown. on the twenty-sixth day of Septem- 
ber, A. D. 1638." 

1 Hon. Edward Everett. The other gentlemen, wbo organized into a 
meeting, were Hon. F. T. Gray, Hon. P. O. Thatcher, Joseph Cool- 
edge, and Dr. George Parkman. The resolutions adopted and the ad- 
dress issued, may be found in Everett's Orations, p. 175. 

2 It will be observed, that, as Harvard died September 14, the date of 
the inscription is erroneous, as the rule is, to add ten days to dates of the 
seventeenth century, in order to bring old style into new style. It should 
be September 24. The error is first noticed in Rev. W. J. Budington's 
History of the First Church, p. 180. 



On the opposite face of the shaft, and looking towards the Uni- 
versity, is another inscription also on a white marble tablet : — 

" In piam et perpetuam memoriam Johanis Harvardii, annis fere du- 
centis post obitum ejus peractis, academiae quae est Cantabrigiae Novae'-An- 
glorum alumni, ne diutius vir de litteris nostris optime meritus sine monu- 
mento quamvis humili jaceret, hunc lapidem ponendum curaverunt." 


About the time of Harvard's death, Rev. Thomas Allen arrived 
in this country, and, probably in 1639, became teacher of the 
church. At this period therefore, its officers were, the Pastor, whose 
" special work was to attend to exhortation, and therein to admin- 
ister a word of wisdom," and the Teacher, who was " to attend to 
doctrine, and therein to administer a word of knowledge." The 
Pastor's duty was to move, by appeals, " the will and the affec- 
tions;" the Teacher's, to state cardinal points of faith, "explain 
the Scripture and manage controversies." The next office was that 
of Ruling Elder, at this time filled by Mr. John Green. In the 
church he had an elevated place assigned to him between the dea- 
con's seat and the pulpit, and was a person of great consideration. 
But in about fifty years the office was hardly, in importance, dis- 
tinguishable from that of Deacon. Scottaw (1691) laments this 
decline. Some could remember there were such persons, but could 
not tell what was their work. " What a shame," he adds, " is it to 


our churches, that through disuse, misuse, or nonuse of them, such 
a question should be put to any of above fifty years of age, now 
living among us." Mr. Green was the only ruling elder this church 
ever had. The third office was that of Deacon, of which there 
were two : Deacons Mousall and Hale. 



In this chapter the name of every inhabitant, in the year speci- 
fied, is given, with such notices of each as could be obtained. 
Biographical Sketches, more in detail, will hereafter be given of 
the few mentioned as bearing a prominent part in the history of 
the colony. 

1630. William Aspinwall was one of the prominent men of 
the colony, but in a few years removed to Boston, where he en- 
gaged zealously in the Antinomian controversy. 

Richard Palsgrave, the first physician in town, came from Step- 
ney, Middlesex county, England, lived here several years, and 
died about 1656, His widow, Anne, removed to Roxbury, and 

died about March, 1669, leaving property to her son Alcock, 

daughters Mary, wife of Roger Wellington, and Lydia, wife of 

Edward Converse was the first ferryman ; selectman from 1635 to 
1640 : one of the settlers of Woburn, its representative in 1660, and 
died August 6, 1663, leaving an estate valued at .£827, 5s. 6c?., to 
wife Sarah; sons Josias, James and Samuel ; and daughters, Mary 
Thompson and Mary Sheldon. 

William Hudson removed to Boston about 1640 ; in 1643, 
went to England, and was in the service on the side of Parliament. 

Ralph Mousall, a carpenter, was freeman in 1631, selectman, 
deacon, and representative in 1636-7-8. In 1637 Deacon Mou- 
sall signed the remonstrance in favor of Mr. Wheelright. But 
though afterwards he confessed his " sin in subscribing the sedi- 


tious writing," and desired " to have his name crossed out," yet 
this was not enough to satisfy the jealous majority. The latter, 
September, 1638, dismissed him from the General Court, " for 
speeches formerly spoken by him in approbation of Mr. Wheel- 
right." Still he was selectman nearly every year until his death, 
April 30, 1657 — having been to the town an efficient citizen. 
He left property to his widow Alice, who died in 1667 : to sons 
Thomas and John : to daughters Elizabeth, Mary, Ruth Wood and 
Mary Goble. His descendants, for many years, were a numerous 
and influential family in town, though there are none of this name 

William Learned was freeman 1634, selectman 1636, one of 
the founders of Woburn, and died there April 5, 1646. 

William Brackenbury, a baker, was four years selectman. In 
1636 he had liberty to build a store house on Little Island, in the 
marsh, " if he go on to keep a bake house for public use." He 
was one of the prominent men of Maiden, and died, August, 1668, 
aged sixty-six, leaving property valued at ,£562, 15s. Id., to son 
Samuel, and daughters Anne Foster and Mary Ridgway. 

Ezekiel Richardson, written also Richeson, was freeman in 
1631, deputy in 1635, and one of the first settlers of Woburn, 
where he died, October 28, 1647. 

William Frothingham was the ancestor of the family of this 
name in the country. He was one of the founders of the church, 
and is often found connected with town affairs. He died about 1652. 
His widow, Anne, survived him until July 28, 1674, aged sixty- 
seven; so reads her grave-stone. The records say 1675. His 
land was in the neighborhood of Eden-street, next to Bunkers, — 
the same that is now occupied, in part, by his descendants. He 
had sons John, Peter, Nathaniel, Stephen, Joseph and Samuel; 
daughters Bethia, Elizabeth, Mary and Hannah, — all born in this 
country. No family has been more numerous in town, and the 
name appears, in uninterrupted succession, in connection with its 
municipal business until the 

William Dady, a butcher, was one of the founders of the church, 
and died April, 1682, aged seventy-seven, leaving property to wife 
Dorothy, son William, and daughter Abigail. 

George Hutchinson, died about 1660, leaving property, .£281,- 
15s. 9d., to son Nathaniel. 

Robert Moulton, was a celebrated ship-carpenter, who engaged 


to come over in 1629; freeman 1631 ; representative 1634. From 
him " Moulton's Point," found very early, took its name. One of 
this name, in 1637, was disarmed at Salem : probably the same, 
as the town gave a citizen permission, in 1635, to buy of him. 

He died in 1655, leaving a son Robert, and a daughter 


Thomas Knower, in 1632, was set in the bilbows for threatening 
the Court " that if he should be punished, he would have it tried 
in England, whether he was lawfully punished or not." Such an 
appeal, even thus early, was accounted treason. 

Edward Gibbons was one of the most distinguished characters of 
the colony. He was representative for this town in 1635 and 1636 ; 
but shortly after sold his property and removed to Boston, where 
he was for many years a representative; also an assistant and 
Major General. 

John Woolrich, was a prominent man, as the prefix of" Mr." is 
always before it. He is styled " an Indian Trader," and planted 
himself " a mile and a half without the neck," on Cambridge 
road, near " Strawberry Hill." He was representative in 1634. 

The other inhabitants of 1630 were, Captain Norton, who 

may have been killed by the Pequods in 1633 : William Jennings, 
not named after 1634 : John Baker, a tailor, who (1637) removed 
from town, Rice Cole, freeman 1633, who died May 15, 1646, 
Edward Jones, freeman 1631, John Sales, Constant Morly, a 
widow, who died in 1669 ; John Glover, one of the prominent 
men of Dorchester ; Prudence Wilkinson, a widow, who died in 
1655, leaving a son John ; Walter Pope, who died previous to 
1640; when there is a grant to " Walter Pope's child ; " John 
Wignall, Richard Johnson, William Penn, Hugh Garrett, and 
Increase Nowell, the "principal person," writes Prince, who 
remained in this town. 

1631. Thomas Beecher, was master of the Talbot, the ship that 
brought over Higginson in 1629; vice admiral of Winthrop's 
fleet 1630 ; one of the first selectmen; representative 1634 and 
1636; and captain of the fort at Castle Island, 1635. Mr. Beecher 
was an active and prominent citizen, and his name appears on the 
records of the court, in connection with important business. He 
died in 1637. Dr. Lyman Beecher is a descendant. 

Henry Harwood, herdsman 1631, and an inhabitant 1636, but 


probably died soon after, as land is allotted, in general divisions, 
to " widow Harwood." 

George Knower, one of the first settlers of Maiden, died there 
February 13, 1665, leaving property to wife Elizabeth, son Jona- 
than, and daughter Mary Mirrable. 

Anne Higginson, the widow of Rev. Francis Higginson, of Sa- 
lem, after residing here a few years, removed to New Haven, where 
she died, early in 1640, leaving eight children. 

The other inhabitants in 1631 are : Thomas Moulton, a planter, 
and Abraham Pratt, a " chyrurgeon." 

1632. John Greene was the first and only ruling elder of the 
church of this town. He was elected selectman in 1646 ; and, with 
only one year's intermission, every year until his death. He served 
on important committees, and, for some time, was town clerk. His 
writing is beautiful, — both in the church and town records; though 
the order for establishing the Board of Selectmen (see page 51) 
appears to have been drawn up by the person who signs his name 
" John Greene," and will hardly sustain this commendation. He 
died, April 22, 1658. His tomb-stone, near Harvard's monument, is 
still to be seen. It lies even with the ground, broken, much defaced, 
and the inscription partly illegible. It had once the following : 


Here lyeth ye body of Mr. John Greene, born at London in Old Eng- 
land , who married Perseverance, the daughter of Johnson, in Amster- 
dam, by whom he had 6 children, with whom and 3 children he came to 
Charlestown, in New England, in 1632, was rvling elder in ye chvrch, 
and deceased April 22, 1658, leaving behind 2 sons and one davghter, viz. 
Iohn, Iacob, and Mary, who erected this monvment to the memory of 
him and his wife, their father and mother." 

Mr. Greene lived in Bow-street, near the Square ; his widow 
sold (1667) his "mansion house" to Francis Willoughby. He 
bequeathed the most of his property to his wife Joanna, because she 
brought him a good estate, which had " much decreased " on his 
hands. This was his second wife. 

Jonathan Wade was an inhabitant until 1636, when he, probably, 
removed to Ipswich, was a prominent citizen there, and died in 
1684. His wife, Susannah, died Nov. 29, 1678. Jonathan Wade, 
probably his son, purchased a large part of " Medford Farm." 

Thomas James was the Pastor of the church. 

1633. Robert Hale was a deacon, in 1634 a freeman, in 1644 
member of the artillery company, and eleven years selectman, be- 


sides serving the town in other capacities. He died, July 16, 
1659, — a valuable citizen, and the ancestor of a large family. 
His widow Johanna married Richard Jacob of Ipswich, and died 
about July, 1679. His son John graduated at Harvard 1657, and 
became the first minister of Beverly. He had other sons, Zecha- 
riah ; Samuel, a mariner, died 1679 ; and daughters Mary, who 

married Wilson, and Johanna. Nathan Hale, executed as a 

spy by the British, was one of his descendants. 

Thomas Squire, freeman 1634, and member of the artillery 1646. 

William Baker, selectman 1646, and named as living in 1650. 
His wife, Joan, died a widow September 26, 1669. 

Atherton Hough, (Howe,) was a prominent character, but 
soon removed to Boston, where he was seven years a representa- 
tive, a member of the council, and died 1650. 

Richard Ketle, (written alsoKetteil,) a butcher, was several years 
selectman, sergeant of the company, and died June 28, 1680, aged 
seventy-one, leaving a widow, Hester; sons John, Joseph, Samuel, 
Nathaniel, Jonathan, and Hannah who married John Call. The 
second wife of his son John was carried away from Lancaster by 
the Indians in 1676. 

James Thompson, written also Thomson, one of the first select- 
men of Woburn, died there in 1682. One of his descendants 
was Benjamin Thompson, (Count Rumford.) Another, the late 
Timothy Thompson, removed to this town a few years previous to 
the Revolution, married, January 3, 1775, Mary Frothingham, who 
is now living, and became the father of the Thompsons of this 

James Pemberton, freeman 1630, one of the founders of Mai- 
den, died February 5, 1662. 

George Felt, written also Felch, was one of the Maiden settlers. 
About 1670 he paid ,£60 for two thousand acres of land at Casco 
Bay, and lived there three years. At the age of eighty-seven Mr. 
Felt petitioned the court for relief, stating that the Casco people 
had taken his land ; he died at Maiden in 1693, aged ninety-two ; 
and his wife in 1693. Rev. J. B. Felt, the author of the Annals 
of Salem, and other valuable works, is one of his descendants. 

James Brown, freeman in 1634, disarmed in 1637, had a grant 
of a part of LovelPs Island in 1640, on the condition " that he set 
up a stage and follow a trade of fishing there." He had sons John, 
James and Nathaniel. 


The other names this year are Abraham Mellows, a person held 
in much respect, who adventured fifty pounds in the Company ; 
Thomas Minor and George Whitehand, freemen in 1634 : Ed- 
mund Hubbert (Hobart) and his two sons, Edmund and Joshua, who 
became leading men at Hingham : Benjamin Hubbard, John Hall, 
Edward Burton and John Hodges. This year the records say, 
" There were fifty-eight inhabitants, most of whom had wives and 

1634. Thomas Lynde, a farmer, was selectman fourteen years; 
eight years a representative, — the first time in 1636, the last time 
in 1652 ; and was constantly connected with town business. He 
was a deacon ; bought of the town the tract of land that includes 
the site of the State Prison, which, until after the Revolution, 
was known as Lynde's Point ; and died December 30, 1671, leav- 
ing property valued at <£1709, 16s. 9d. His posterity were nu- 
merous, and some of them highly distinguished. He had three 
wives : by his first wife, he had eight children, two of whom only, 
survived him, viz., Thomas, who settled in Maiden, and Mary 

who married Weeks of Sukanoset : by his second wife, the 

daughter of John Martin, and widow of Thomas Jordan, he had 
five children, viz. : Joseph, Sarah, Hannah, William and Samuel. 
Sarah married Robert Pierpont 1666 : Hannah married John 
Trarice 1663. This second wife died August 3, 1662. Deacon 
Lynde then married Rebecca Trevitt, December 6, 1665, who 
died December 8, 1688. 

Edward Mellows, son of Abraham Mellows, was selectman five 
years; clerk of the writs; and died May 5, 1650. He had a son 
Edward, and daughters Martha and Elizabeth. 

John Mousall, brother to Ralph, was selectman, representative, 
member of the artillery in 1641, and one of the first settlers of 
Woburn, where he died in 1665. 

George Bunker appears to have been a wealthy emigrant, and a 
large land owner. He had one lot on Bunker Hill, running over 
its summit, and hence its name. His shares in divisions are com- 
monly the largest of any. He died in 1664, leaving property to 
sons John, Benjamin and Jonathan; and daughters Mary, Martha, 
and Elizabeth. 

The other inhabitants of this year are Thomas Pearce, John 
Lewis, Rice Morris, Thomas Chubbuck, Anthony Eames, William 
Johnson, John Blott, Robert Shorthus, Edward Sturges, Matthew 


Mitchell, Robert Blott, James Matthews, William Nash, John 
Sibley, William Bachelor, Edward Carrington, Thomas Lincoln, 
Adam Hawks, Thomas Goble, Mrs. Sarah Oakley, xMrs. Crowe, 
who came over a year before her husband, Thomas Brigden, James 
Greene, and Zechariah Symmes, the pastor of the church. 1 

1£35. Robert Long, from Dunstable, England, came over this 
year with his wife Elizabeth and ten children. He was an innholder, 
and purchased the " Great House." In 1638 he was allowed to 
draw wine, on condition- " that he take what wines or waters are 
in the hands of t Thomas Lynde, who formerly sold the wines, so 
that he be not damnified."- Mr. Long was selectman, and died 
January 9, 1664, leaving -considerable property to a large family. 
His widow died May 29,.. 1687. 

Robert Rand, ancestor of the numerous family of this name in 
this town, died about 1639. He married a sister of the wife of 
Richard Sprague,Jwho died July 29, 1691, aged ninety-eight. He 
had a son Nathaniel, who married, Sept. 2, 1664, Mary Carter; 
daughters Alice, who married Thomas Lord; Susanna, married 
Abraham Newell; Elizabeth, married Nathaniel Brewer, and Mar- 
gery, married Lawrence Dowse. 

The other inhabitants this year are, George Shavelin, Faintnot 
Wines, Stephen Fosdick, Robert Hawkins, Robert Jeffries, Jona. 
Gould, Thomas Blott, Edward Jones, Thomas Bonny, Isaac Cole, 
William Tuttle, Henry Lawrence, Thomas Ewar, John Crowe, 
Philip Drinker, George Hepbourne, Nicholas Davies, John Palmer, 
Bates, Michael Bastow.- 

1636. The records furnish the following "list of the names of 
the inhabitants of this town, recorded this month of January, 9 
1635, (1636): — 

1 The order of Court of 1631, in connection with Adams' Portsmouth 
(p. 18), where, under 1631, Thomas Walford is named a settler of Piscat- 
aqua, were the authorities for the assertion, p. 23, that he remained in this 
town hut two years. On copying names for this chapter, 1 find Walford 
mentioned an inhabitant as late as January 9, 1634. Unless the copyist is 
in error, he refused to obey the order of the Court to depart. Still the 
subsequent order of Sept. 3, states that his goods were seized to satisfy 
his creditors in the Bay. Walford had no grant nor share in the divisions 
of land, nor have I met with his name after 1634. 

2 It will be noticed that most of the names of inhabitants admitted in 
1635 are not to be found in this list of January, 1636. Probably the list 
should be of the date of January, 1635 ; it is in the text as it is in the 
records. . 



Increase Nowell, Esq. 
Mr. Thomas James, 
" Zech'r, Symmes, 
" Thos. Beecher, 
" A bra. Mellows, 
" Ed w'd Gibbons, 
" John Greene, 
Ralph Sprague, 
Rich'd Sprague, 
Nicholas Stowers, 
Win. Nash, 
Wm. Baker, 
Mr. Jona. Wade, 
James Pemberton, 
Edward Bur.ton, 
Thomas Squire, 
William Sprague, 
Edward Jones, 
Robert Shortus, 
Wm. Bachelor, 
Walter Pope, " : 
Rich'd Kettle, . 
Edward Sturges, 

Mr. Abra. Palmer, 
Geo. Hutchinson,,., v 
Robert Hale, 
Edmund Hubbert, Jun. 
Edward Converse, 
James Brown, 
Henry Harwood, 
Robert Blott, 
George Knower, 
Thomas Moulton, 
Robert Moulton, 
Prudence Wilkinson, 
John Baker, 
Wm. Learned, 
Ralph Mousall, 
Mr. John Woolrich, 
James Thomson, 
Adam Hawkes, 
Rice Morris, 
Tho. Minor, 
Mr. John Crowe, 
John Lewis}*- 

James Matthews, 
William Brackenbury, 
Thos. Pearce, 
Wm. Dady, 
Wm. Johnson, 
Rice Cole, 
Walter Palmer, 
Thos. Chubbuck, 
Thos. Linds, 
John Hall, 
John Sibley, 
Ezekiel Richeson, 
Mr. George Bunker, 
Wm. Frothingham, . 
Edmund Hubberd, Sen., 
Thos. Goble, 
Anthony Eames, 
Mr. Benj. Hubberd, 
George Whitehand, 
Mr. Rich'd Palsgrave, i 
Mr. John Hodges, 
'Thomas Lincoln. 

Mrs.. Anne Higginson, 
In all 72. Most, of these had wives and children, the widows had also. 1 '' 

William Witherell,. schoolmaster. His certificate from his parish 
in England, dated March 14, 1635, and signed by the Mayor of 
Maidstone, was for his wife Mary, three children, and one servant. 
It testified that they had taken the oaths of allegiance and suprema- 
cy, and were correct as to " the orders and discipline of the church." 
Having presented this paper to the authorities of Sandwich, Eng- 
land, they, according to custom, were allowed to embark for New 
England, which they did in the ship Hercules. 2 He was, for seve- 
ral years " the grammar master " of the public school. 

Thomas Coitmore, selectman in 1640, and deputy in 1645, built 
a mill in town near Spot Pond, and in 1642 sailed master of the 
Trial, — the first ship ever built in Boston. He was drowned on 

i The reader will notice the title of " Mf7" prefixed to a few of the 
names. This almost invariably indicates, in recdrds' of this period, a per- 
son of consideration, as much, or perhaps more, than " Hon." does at the 
present day. It appears that there was but one " Esq." in town, and he 
ranks above the ministers. " Not more than a dozen of the principal 
gentlemen took the title of Esquire," writes Hutchinson, " and in a list of 
an hundred freemen, generally men of substance," there are not more 
than four or five distinguished by " Mr." The General Court ordered 
Josias Plaistowe, for taking corn from the Indians, to return the corn, pay 
a fine, and " hereafter to be called by the name of Josias, and not Mr., as 
formerly he used to be." Goodman and Goodwife were the common ap^- 

2 Savage's Gleanings, 


the coast of Wales, December 17, 1645, leaving an estate of 
£1266, 9s. Id. to widow Martha and son Thomas. " A right godly 
man and expert seaman," writes Winthrop; "dearly beloved," 
writes Johnson ; " a good scholar and one who had spent both his 
labor and estate in helping on in this wilderness work." His wid- 
ow, Martha, the daughter of Capt. Rainsborough, married Gov. Win- 
throp. On his death she married John Coggan, whom she survived. 

The next year Mr. Coitmore's mother, " Mrs. Katherine Coit- 
more," came over, a widow, and so continued until her death, Nov. 
28, 1659. Of her daughters, Parnell married Increase Nowell ; 
Catherine married Thomas Graves, the " Admiral ; " Anne mar- 
ried William Tyng of Boston ; Sarah married Williams. 

This family was also connected with Joseph Hill and William 
JStitson, — leading men. 

The other inhabitants, admitted in 1636, were : Jenner, 

William Powell, Joseph Ketchering, Thomas Richeson, Nicholas 

Trarice, Ralph Smith, Benjamin Linge, Abraham Hill, 

Potter, Lewis Hewlett, Richard Wilde, James Hoyden, George 
Heywood, Thomas Hawkins, William Quick, John Charles, 
Thomas Weeks, James Hayward, and Robert Sedgwick, in 1656 
one of Cromwell's generals. 

1637. Francis Norton was, in 1631, " a steward," sent by Captain 
Mason to Piscataqua, to manage his plantation. On his death, 
Mrs. Mason made Mr. Norton her attorney, with full power to 
manage the estate of her late husband. The colony was not pros- 
perous; no supplies were sent over, and Mr. Norton, then living 
at the Great House, Portsmouth, left that settlement and drove 
about a hundred head of cattle — worth £25 the head, " money of 
England," — to Boston, and there sold them. He did not return. 
He was freeman in 1643, and member of the artillery; and visited 
England in 1646; selectman first in 1647 and afterwards eight 
years ; representative first in 1647 and afterwards ten years. He 
was a distinguished military character, and commanded " the train 
band " of this town. " One of a bold and cheerful spirit, and full of 
love to the truth," — "a well disciplined and able man," writes 
Johnson. He died July 27, 1667. His estate is valued at ,£630; 
among the items of which was " a negro man £26." He had 
(1667) three daughters unmarried : Deborah, Elizabeth and Sarah ; 

and one, Abigail, married Long. He left a widow Mary, who 

married (1670) Deacon Stitson. 


Seth Sweetser came from Tring, Hertfordshire, and was the an- 
cestor of the numerous family of this name. He died, May 21, 
1662, aged fifty-six, leaving property to wife Elizabeth, son Benja- 
min, son Samuel Blanchard, daughter Mary Blanchard and daugh- 
ter Hannah. He was a Baptist, as was his son Benjamin of Bos- 
ton, who was fined £5Q and imprisoned for his opinions. One of 
his descendants was Seth Sweetser, schoolmaster, and the patri- 
otic town clerk during the Revolution. 

Edward Johnson was the author of the very curious work entitled 
" Wonder- Working Providence of Zion's Saviour ; Being a Rela- 
tion of the firste planting of New England in the Yeere 1628 : " 
London, 1654. This volume begins thus : " Good Reader : as 
large Gates to small Edificies, so are long prefaces to little Bookes; 
therefore I will briefly informe thee, that here thou shalt find the 
time when, the manner how, the cause why, and the great successe 
which it hath pleased the Lord to give, to this handful of his prays- 
ing Saints in N. Engl., &.c : ". He lived in Bow-street; yet it is 
strange that the name of so noted a civilian and religionist is not 
found in the church records at all, nor on the town records before 
1640, except in divisions of lands, and in a description of his prop- 
erty, where he is styled " Captain." He was the father of Woburn, 
where he died, April 23, 1672. 

Robert Cutler, deacon, selectman and an active citizen, serving 
the town on various committees, died March 7, 1665, leaving an 
estate of ,£602, 8s. 2d. to wife Rebecca, son John, daughters Rebec- 
ca, wife of Abram Arrington ; and Hannah, wife of Matthew Griffin. 

William Stitson, a valuable citizen, was selectman first in 1642, 
and served twenty years in this office : a representative six years, 
the first time in 1646, the last time in 1671 ; a sergeant of the mili- 
tary company, and member of the Boston artillery, 1648; and a 
deacon of the church "thirty-one years and five months," as it is 
inscribed on his tomb-stone, still to be seen. He died April 11, 
1691, aged ninety-one. He was as active in ecclesiastical matters 
as he was in civil affairs ; but the bare recital of the offices he filled 
is nearly the only memorial I can give of this venerable patriarch. 

His first wife was Elizabeth , who died Feb. 16, 1669. He 

married, August 27, 1670, Mary Norton, widow of Francis Norton. 
His will frees his negro Sambo, and gives property to sons John, 

Thomas, William, Daniel Harris and Maverick, children of 

his first wife ; and Deborah, wife of Matthew Griffin. 


The other inhabitants, admitted in 1637, were Joshua Tedd, se- 
lectman 1660 and 1668, John Mosse, Timothy Ford, John Brims- 
mead, Richard Perry, William Hayward, Luson, Si- 

monds, Joseph Coleman, Thomas Caule, William Knight, Peter 

Garland, Matthew Smith, Robert Leach, Fraile, John Todd, 

John Burrage, George Line, — : — Fitt, James Garrett, James 
Hubbard, Apsia Knight, Jervase Boyken, John Harvard, the foun- 
der of Harvard College. 

1638. Joseph Hill was selectman 1644, and representative in 
1647; the principal character at Maiden, where he probably died. 
Johnson characterizes him as " active to bring the laws of the 
country in order," and the first leader of the Maiden band. 

The others admitted this year were, Robert Hunt, John Mar- 
tin, Thomas Ruck, Henry Bullock, William Smith, Henry Swaine, 
Edward Paine, Richard Hill, Edward Larkin, John Pentecost, 
Walter Nichols, Nehemiah Bourne, John Fairfield, Hiram Garrett, 

Richard Lowden, Sergeant, Benjamin Butterfield, William 

Bateman, Thomas Martin, Thomas Graves, rear admiral, probably 
appointed by Cromwell, and Francis Willoughby, who, for nearly 
forty years, was one of the principal characters of the colony. 

1639. John Allen was a merchant, and a prominent man, often 
engaged in town business, several years selectman, representative 
1668 to 1674, and captain of the company, 1658. He died March 
27, 1675. 

Augustine Walker was a sea-captain, actively engaged in com- 
merce — freeman, 1641; died at Bilboa, January 1, 1653. His 
wife's name was Hannah. His descendants settled in Woburn. 

The other inhabitants, admitted this year, were, John Seer, John 
Marsh, Thomas French, Richard Robert, William Simonds, John 
Scudder, Gaudy James, and Isaac Wheeler. 

1640. The following are all that are recorded this year, James 
Jackson, Alexander Field, Ralph Wilmot, Ralph Cook, Ralph 
Woory, Edward Wood ; and Richard Russell, for twenty years 
Treasurer of the colony and for twenty-six years in succession, 
selectman. 1 

1 In this chapter the names of all the inhabitants from 1630 to 1640 are 
given. After this time, there are few admissions recorded. Biographi- 
cal sketches, hereafter, must, necessarily, be confined to those inhabit- 
ants who took a prominent part in public affairs. 



Charlestown Two Hundred years ago. — Extent. — Cradock's Farm. — 
Fields. — Streets. — Market Place. — Town Hill. — Training Field. — 
Burial Ground. — Ferries. — The Meeting-House. — The Tavern. — 
The Watch-House. — A School-House. — The Military. — The Hill 
Fort. — The Battery. — The Poor. — Population. — Freemen. — Town 
Officers. — Voting. — Town Meetings. — By-Laws. — Colonial Laws. 
— Condition of the Citizens. ■• — Their Pursuits. — Trade. — Ship Buil- 
ding. — Fruits of Ten Years. 

In the year 1640, in consequence of the change that took place 
in the political condition of England, emigration ceased. Many 
persons even returned, either to observe, or to take part in, the 
great struggle going on there for liberty. It may be interesting, 
as the foundations of the town were now laid, to view it in its 
infancy; for "small things," writes Dudley, " in the beginning of 
natural or politique bodyes are as remarkable as greater in bodyes 
full growne." 

Charlestown, at this time, included the extensive tract already 
described. A few settlers had planted themselves at "Mistick 
side," afterwards Maiden. Stoneham had not a single occupant ; 
a number of Charlestown men had commenced the " village," 
afterwards Woburn ; on the north side of Mystic River lay the 
extensive plantation of Matthew Cradock, x not far from 2500 

1 Cradock's Farm was the tract, hounded on the south by Mystic River, 
that, until 1754, constituted the greater part of Medford. The early his- 
tory of this nourishing town is "very meagre," writes Mr. Savage. 
(Wintlirop, vol. ii. p. 161.) It has been found difficult to account (Ameri- 
can Quarterly Register, vol. xiv. p. 409 : Stetson's Discourse, 1840) for 
the facts, that until 1674 it has no records ; until 1689, it had no repre- 
sentative ; until after 1700, no school; and until 1713 no church, though 
it had preaching from 1793 ; and confusion has arisen from the fact, that 
the name Medford has been applied incorrectly to settlements on both sides 
the Mystic River. 

Matthew Cradock was a merchant of London, of enterprise and sagacity, 
— the Governor of the company in England, and first proposed (July 28, 
1629) the transfer of the charter, — that the emigrants might be their own ru- 
lers. He, with other " particular brethren," sent over, in the ships that sail- 
ed that year, men and materials for the establishment of a large plantation. 
The Company instructed Gov. Endicott to aid this undertaking (Letter, 
April 17, 1629,) " done without any charge to the Company's stock." 



acres ; in the eastern part of what is now Medford, were the farms of 
John Wilson, Increase Nowell, and Thomas Allen : on the south side 
of the Mystic, the tract from the Ponds, eastward, afterwards named 
" Mystic Fields ; " the six hundred acres owned by Governor Win- 
throp, called Mystic; and a tract extending to Penny Ferry, where 
Maiden Bridge is, long known as the High Field. Between the 
"Winter Hill Road" and Cambridge line, was the field called 
"The Stinted Common," already described, a small part of which, 
situated in the neighborhood of the tavern, on the Neck, retained 
the name of " The Common " to the present century. There 

Subsequently, (Letter of May 28,) this charge was renewed ; " Cradock," 
the letter says, " had engaged himself beyond expectation" in this adven- 
ture ; " our desire is that you endeavor to give all furtherance and friendly 
accommodation to his agents and servants." They selected the land on 
the north side of Mystic River, cleared a farm, " impaled a park," built 
vessels, and began a fishing establishment. 

" Some of us," Dudley writes, March, 1631, are planted " upon Mystic 
which we named Meadford ;" designating by this, the plantation on the 
north side of the river. The south side was Charlestown. Thus Ten 
Hills was " at Mistick in the precincts of Charlestown ;" farther up, op- 
posite the middle of Medford, and so towards the Ponds, were " Mystic 
Fields ; " so read descriptions in early deeds. Later, Medford was also 
frequently called Mistick. 

In 1634 the General Court granted to Matthew Cradock all the tract 
between the " lands of Mr. Nowell and Mr. Wilson on the east, and the 
partition betwixt Mystic bounds on the west ; " on the south by Mystic 
River, and north by " the Rocks," — the extensive ledge that skirts the 
north side of Medford. In 1636 the Court further ordered, that this tract 
" should extend a mile into the country from the river side in all places." 
This piece of land contained over twenty-one hundred acres, and perhaps 
twenty-five hundred ; included the Wellington Farm in the eastern part 
of Medford, and ran beyond the centre of the town towards " Symmes's 
Corner." In 1634 the Court also granted "the Wear at Mistick" to 
Cradock and Winthrop. 

At this period the plantation, undoubtedly, was extensive and flourish- 
ing, — furnishing employment to many mechanics, farmers and fishermen. 
A " ship " of sixty tons was built here in 1633 ; another projected of two 
hundred tons. A celebrated clergyman, Rev. James Noyes, preached 
here for more than a year. Medford paid a large proportion of the colo- 
nial taxes ; for eight years it was " superior in wealth, at different times, 
to Newbury, Ipswich, Hingham, and Weymouth, all ancient towns." 
(Savage's Winthrop, vol. ii. p. 161.) Its tax in 1634, of a rate of £600, 
was j£26, — Charlestown's proportion .£45 ; in a rate in 1635 of j£200, 
it was £10, — Charlestown's, £16. Hence all printed authorities speak 
of Medford as a town, and date its incorporation in 1630 ; but this appears 
to be an error. 

There are many allusions, on Charlestown records, to this Plantation. It 
is called for about forty years, " Medford Farm," " Farme at Mystic," 
"Medford Farms," and " Cradock's Farm. Tn 1638 Mr. Cradock's 
agents built abridge (Mistick Bridge) over the river, to " the hindrance of 


was also another field fenced in, called Menotomies Field, which 
bordered on West Cambridge. 

At this period it was common for the towns to have these fields.— 
The land of which they were composed, in this town, was first 
allotted to individuals, who agreed to fence in common, to avoid 
expense. Each proprietor might use his land, or sell it. One of 
the fields within the Peninsula, was " The Great Cornfield," or 
" The East Field," described on the town records, as bounded 
" west by the Country Road," Main-street; " south by the Marsh 
that runs along by Charles River ; " east by Mistick River ; " north 

boats," say the records, — " exacting toll (without any orders) of cattle 
that go over that bridge." The town commenced a suit against him at 
the Quarter Court. This bridge was one of the earliest, if not the ear- 
liest, toll-bridge in the state. 

The prosperity of this Plantation declined on the decline in health, and 
the death of its owner, Matthew Cradock. The date of this event is un- 
certain ; probably it was about 1642. His will is dated November 9, 
1640. The period when he withdrew a portion of his means from the 
plantation may be fixed at 1638, from the circumstance that Medford is 
not named in the rates of 1639 or 1640. In 1642 it paid, of a rate of .£800 
only £10, while Charlestown paid £60 ; in 1644, of a rate of £616, it 
paid £7, while Charlestown paid £60. 

Mr. Cradock in his will, after a few legacies to the poor, — one to the 
poor of Broad street, where he served his apprenticeship, another to the 
poor of Swithens, where he lived, — leaves property to his wife and others ; 
and among the bequests is the use of one half of his estate in New Eng- 
land to his widow Rebecca during her life ; the use of the other half to 
his daughter Dammaris, and this half to go to her children ; if she had 
none, then the whole of this estate was to revert, on the deaths of mother 
and daughter, to his brother Samuel, and to be inherited by his male heirs. 

His widow, Rebecca, married first, Richard Glover, who in 1644, rented 
to Edward Collins of Cambridge, one half of the plantation " called Med- 
ford in New England;" including "houses, edifices, buildings, barns, 
stables, out-houses, lands, tenements, meadows, pastures, findings, woods, 
highways, profits, commodities and appurtenances." 

In 1652 Cradock's widow had again married, to Benjamin Whitchcot, 
D. D. ; his daughter Dammaris had married Thomas Andrews, leather- 
seller of London : and Samuel, his brother, was " Elder of Chessleton, 
County of Rutland, clerk," and had three sons. These parties, in instru- 
ments dated June 2, 1652, and September 6, 1652, relinquished to Mr. 
Edward Collins, " all that messuage, farm, or plantation, called Medford 
in New England." 

Edward Collins, who appears to have resided on his plantation, sold, 
August 20, 1656, to Richard Russell, of Charlestown, sixteen hundred, 
acres of it, " being part of the plantation known by the name of Medford," 
with the mansion house and other buildings ; bounding this tract on the 
south by Mistick River ; north by Charlestown line ; west by trees 
standing by a brook ; and east by the farms of Nowell and others. Col- 
lins covenants to save Russell harmless from all claims from the heirs of 
Cradock ' ' unto whom the said plantation was first granted ' ' by the Court. 


by the isthmus, or neck of land that lets out into the Main ;" 
including Bunker Hill, Breeds Hill and Moulton's Point. The 
town maintained the gates, but the individual proprietors paid for 
the fences, " either in money or merchantable corn. " Minute 
regulations were made respecting the occupancy of this field ; 
a proprietor might, every third year, plant Indian corn ; for each 
two acres he might pasture " one grown beast and two calves ; " 
the times were fixed when it might be occupied for pasturage, or 
for planting ground ; fines were imposed for violations of these 
laws, viz. : for leaving gates open, 2s. 6d. ; for a bad fence, VZd. 

No specification is given of the number of " cattle " or of " tenements." 
At this time, Mr. Collins also deeds to others portions of this farm. 

In 1658, in answer to a petition of the " inhabitants of Mistick," the 
Court, Oct. 19, decided that they should " have half proportion with the 
rest of the inhabitants of Charlestown" in the commons lately divided, 
unless " Charlestown leave the inhabitants of Mistick and their lands to 
Maiden " and the latter accept them. At this period there are many refer- 
ences, on the town records, to thispl antation. One in 1655, reads thus — 
" about the commons Concerning Mr. Winthrop's Farm, Medford Farm 
and Cambridge town." In 1658 the General Court, also, gave the peo- 
ple of Medford liberty to "join the train-band of Cambridge, and be no 
longer compelled to travel to Charlestown ;" and to have all matters of a 
civil nature, arising within their " peculiar," and proper to be heard by 
the three commissioners, " to be heard and determined " by those of Cam- 
bridge. From these facts it appears, that, though Medford was taxed 
separately in colonial rates, it was not a town ; it was rather a manor, 
owned by one of the leading inhabitants of Charlestown ; and its people, 
for some municipal purposes, were considered as belonging to this town. 

Richard Russell, May 25, 1661, deeded three quarters of this farm, in- 
cluding the " Mansion House," to Jonathan Wade, of Charlestown ; and 
Mr. Russell's heirs sold to Peter Tufts three hundred acres of it lying in 
what is now the heart of Medford. 

For several years Medford was Called " A Plantation." It had its 
records, which after 1674 are still extant. It elected selectmen to manage 
" the affairs of the plantation." Jonathan Wade, Nathaniel Wade, and 
Peter Tufts, appear to have been its leading men. Its board of selectmen 
were, in 1677, Jo. Wade, Jno. Hall, and Stephen Willows. Some of the 
persons of Medford, at this period, 1658 to 1684, were also inhabit- 
ants of Charlestown. But from the vote of the Court of 1684, Medford 
probably might have been at this time a town, had it chosen to recognise 
itself as such. 

There was much trouble about Mistick Bridge. In 1653 the Court es- 
tablished rates of tolls, and offered to authorize any person or persons to 
collect them, on condition that the bridge be maintained. After much ac- 
tion upon this subject, an agreement was entered into, July 17, 1668, by 
which Charlestown obligated itself to maintain one half, seventy-seven feet 
two and a half inches, and the other was to be kept in repair bv the 
people of Medford, Maiden, Woburn and Reading. This bridge, "after 
this time, was frequently "presented" at the County Court as being 
unsafe. While Charlestown appears to have been, generally, prompt to 


for each defect ; for patting in cattle before the field was cleared, 
12c?., besides damages. A hay ward was chosen to enforcethese 
regulations. The other field, within the Peninsula, was called the 
North-west Field, in the vicinity of Washington-street. Water 
Field is also mentioned. 

There is no record of streets until 1670. The two principal 
ones, at this time, (1640) were, Main-street, then called "The 
Country Road," " The Town-street," in 1670, " Broad-street," 
and later, Market-street ; and Bow-street, then called Crooked- 
lane." Other highways are mentioned in old records and deeds, 
such as " Malt-lane," Rope-maker's-lane," " Meeting-house-lane," 
" Hale's-lane." Wapping was a name given to that part of the 
town in the neighborhood of the Navy Yard ; Sconce Point, to a 
point now included within the limits of the yard ; Moulton's Point, 
to the tract now known as " The Point." Cambridge-Road and Win- 
ter-IIill-Road had been laid out ; or, rather, were narrow cartways. 

do its part, it required sometimes sharp " duns " in the shape of fines, to 
bring her neighbors to the mark. 

On the 13th of October, 1684, say the Medford records, " It was agreed 
upon at a general meeting of the inhabitants by a vote, to petition the Gen- 
eral Court to grant us power and privilege as other towns for the ordering 
of prudentials among us." This was signed by Nathaniel Wade and 
Peter Tufts. The Court declared, Oct. 15, " that Medford hath been and 
is a peculiar, and have power as other towns as to prudentials." In 1685, 
April 1, there was a rate made ; in 1689, June 4, " Ensign Peter Tufts " 
was elected a deputy, and again " Lieut. Peter Tufts " in 1690. 

In 1687, May 3, the lines were established between this town and Med- 
ford. Under this date there is on the Charlestown records, nearly a 
page of description of boundary lines, after the fashion of the times ; the 
points, piles of stones, — more curious than intelligible. It would be out 
of place to follow the divisions of this great farm or the fortunes of Med- 
ford, farther. It has a history of ils own, commencing, not very auspi- 
ciously, with a long and painful controversy with its minister, Rev. Ben- 
jamin Woodbridge. At length the General Court decided-, that he " was 
not legally the minister," " and ordered the town to settle another with- 
out delay." The town immediately took measures to comply with the 
order; and meanwhile " humbly begged the General Court not to impose 
a minister upon them without their consent."— Stetson's Discourse, p. 19. 

Mr. Cradock's widow, in 1650, through Nicholas Davison, a merchant 
of this town, petitioned the Court for £676, which she alleged to be due to 
Cradock's estate. The Court refused to allow this claim on the ground 
that the government " were never concerned " in Cradock's adventure. In 
1670, then Mrs. Whitchcot, she renewed this claim. At first, Oct. 11, the 
Court decided not to grant it ; but shortly after, in consideration of " the 
great disbursement of Mr. Cradock in planting the colony," it allowed 
Dr. Whitchcot and Rebecca his wife, one thousand acres of land, and they 
relinquished all claims on the government. 


The Market-Place was the tract, now called the Square, then be- 
coming filled with buildings. Here, by the permission of the Court, 
" a market was kept constantly on the sixth day of every week," — 
an old custom of the towns of England. Here was a weekly 
exhibition of the infant commerce of New England. Other towns, 
on other days, had the same privilege. 

The Town Hill was then called the " Windmill Hill," from the 
mill that Robert Hawkins built upon it in 1635. For a century, 
estates in this vicinity, are described in deeds, as being on or near 
" the Windmill Hill." In a few years (1646) it was determined that 
this Hill " should lie common to the town forever ; " and (1648) 
that " no more gravel should be digged or fetched from it." Large 
quantities of gravel were carried from this Hill about the year 
1782, when it was much higher than it now is. It must have been 
very much higher at the time of the settlement of the town. 

The Training Field was, probably, laid out, as a few years later 
it is (1648) first alluded to in the records, as a well-established 
public place. The next year the town voted to maintain the upper 
and west side of the " Training Place." It was used, undoubtedly, 
for military purposes. 

The old Burial Ground is alluded to in the records for the first 
time in 1648. But this beautifully located hillock had, undoubt- 
edly, been already appropriated for this purpose. A few years later, 
in 1656, the marsh in front of it was sold by the town, — the hill 
and the street leading to it " being reserved to the town's use for- 
ever." At this time, (1640,) it had received some of its most sacred 
relicts, for among them were those of Beecher and Harvard ; but 
the earliest grave-stone is that of Maud, the wife of Richard Rus- 
sell, — a horizontal monument, with 1652 upon it. Time has dealt 
severely with Charlestown. The monuments of its grave-yard, its 
records, and its silent highways, are its only antiquities. The con- 
flagration of 1775 spared not a dwelling-place ; and living witnesses 
testify, that the temporary possessors of the town did not even 
respect this venerable sanctuary of the dead ; they used its grave- 
stones on Bunker Hill for the thresholds of the barracks of the 

There were two ferries, " The Great Ferry," and " Penny Fer- 
ry." The first, where the Charles River Bridge is, was established 
in 1631, when the General Court allowed Edward Converse "to 
set up a ferry between Charlton and Boston, for which he is to have 


2d. for every single person, and Id. a piece if there be two or more." 
This lease was renewed, November 9, 1637, for three years, for 
which Mr. Converse agreed to pay forty pounds rent into the Colo- 
nial Treasury, and " to set up a convenient house on Boston side, 
and keep a boat there." He was allowed to exact the above-named 
fees, " as well on lecture days as at other times ; " and for a horse, 
or cow, with the " man that goeth with them, Qd. ; for a goat, Id. ; a 
swine, 2d. ; and of passengers after dark, or before day-light in the 
morning, recompense answering to the season, and his pains and 
hazard, so it be not excessive." In 1640, this ferry was granted 
to Harvard College, which in 1639 had received ,£50 from it. 
Penny Ferry, where Maiden Bridge is, was established by the town, 
April 2, 1640, when it was voted " that Phillip Drinker should 
keep a ferry at the Neck of Land, with a sufficient boat, and to 
have 2d. a single person, and a penny a piece when there go any 
more." Little Island, lying near it in Mystic River, was appro- 
priated to its support. It continued to be maintained by the town, 
which, some years later, derived a small income from it. 

The Meeting-house was in the Market-Place, now the Square. 
It was the third place of public worship that had been provided. 
The first place was the Great House ; the next was situated " be- 
tween the town and the neck," and in 1639, was sold for one hun- 
dred pounds ; the third, built with the proceeds of this sale, and 
probably voluntary contributions, 1 was between the present Town 
House and the entrance to Main-street, — near the Bridge Estate. 
And here continued to be the site of the meeting-house until the 
Revolution. No description of it is extant. It was erected by 
those, in the words of the quaint Scottaw, who " served God in 
houses of the first edition, without large chambers, or windows 
ceiled with cedar, or painted with vermilion ; " yet, judging from 
the money expended upon it, it was something more than " a mud- 
wall meeting-house with wooden chalices," as he describes the 
first church of Boston. It was " very comely built and large," 
writes Johnson, and it may have had galleries ; 2 but the reader 
must not suppose it lined with pews and covered with " vermil- 
ion." These appendages belong to a later day. 

1 The younger Winthrop gave, in 1636, five pounds towards a meeting- 

2 The new Boston church (1643) had galleries. — See Snow's History. 


The " Great House " in which the Governor had lived, the 
court sat, and the people worshipped, was now the Tavern : an 
" Ordinary," as such places were called, kept by Robert Long. 
Josselyn, in his Voyages, mentions calling (1638) at " one Long's 
Ordinary "; and writes of these old Puritan Taverns as though he 
was annoyed by the strict surveillance to which they were subject- 
ed. "If a stranger went in, he was presently followed by one 
appointed to that office, who would thrust himself into his company 
uninvited, and if he called for more drink than the officer thought 
in his judgment he could soberly bear away, he would presently 
countermand it, and appoint the proportion beyond which he could 
not get one drop." Besides : mine host could permit no tobacco 
to be used about his premises, no cards to be shuffled, no dice to 
be thrown. And if he took more than six-pence for a meal, or a 
penny " for an ale quart of beer out of meal times," or sold cakes 
or bunns, except for marriages or burials, or like special occasions, 
the penalty to which he was liable was ten shillings. But by pay- 
ing a round sum into the colonial treasury, he was allowed to " sell 
wine and strong water made in the country." The town granted 
Mr. Long the use of the horse pasture, on the condition that he 
fenced it, " for the use of the guest horses." Mr. Long and his 
sons after him, kept this tavern for nearly three quarters of a cen- 
tury ; and, judging from the inventories of their estates, got rich in 
the business. It came to be known as " The Two Cranes," from 
its sign. 1 

The only other public building, named thus early, in the records, 
is the watch house. For not having one, the town had been fined ; 
and in 1639, one was ordered to be built " with a chimney in it, 
of convenient largeness to give entertainment on the Lord's Days 

l The Great House was inherited by John Long, who carried on the 
tavern established by his father. In 1683, he bequeathed it to his widow, 
Mary, the daughter of Increase Nowell. There is specified in the inven- 
tory, among other rooms, a great lower room, a great chamber, the kitchen 
where the bar is kept, and the wine cellar. A brew-house was attached 
to the estate. Mrs. Long gave it, in 1711, to her son, Samuel Long, 
where it is named in the deed, as " The Great Tavern." In 1712, Sam- 
uel Long sold the estate to Ebenezer Breed, when the house is called 
" The Old Tavern." I have not seen any notice of its being destroyed, 
and hence conclude it was burnt June 17, 1775. The estate remained in 
the possession of Mr. Breed's heirs, until the town purchased it to form a 
part of the Square. The Great House stood wholly in the Square, and 
opposite the lane by the " Russell House," or " The Mansion House." 


to such as live remote from the meeting-house, and that there shall 
be a small room added or taken out of it for widow Morly to 
live in." 

The school continued to be maintained, though there is no notice 
of a school-house until 1G48, when one was ordered to be built on 
"Windmill Hill," and paid for by " a general rate." 

The military concerns of the colony at this early period, were 
of the highest importance. The General Court, as early as 1631, 
appointed days for military exercises ; on every Friday there was 
" a general training," in this town, " at a convenient place about 
the Indian wigwams," commencing at one o'clock in the afternoon. 
Up to 1635, the people of Medford, Watertown and Charlestown 
formed one company, but then the Court ordered that the two towns 
last named " shall be two distinct companies, and to have officers 
of their own ; " the Medford men remaining members of the 
Charlestown company. For a few years there was no prominent 
military character here ; and the town paid, in 1636, to the re- 
nowned captains, Patrick and Underhill, "twenty shillings a time 
for training " its company. But there were no such expenses after 
Robert Sedgwick and Francis Norton, both distinguished military 
men, as well as enterprising merchants, became inhabitants. John- 
son, in 1644, speaks of " the very gallant horse troop," of this 
town. Francis Norton at that time (1644) commanded the foot 
company ; Ralph Sprague was the lieutenant, and Abraham 
Palmer the ensign. The early writers speak in high terms of the 
skill displayed at the general musters. There was one in May, 
1639, that lasted a day, when more than a thousand soldiers, able 
men, well armed and exercised, were in Boston ; and another, 
September 15, 1641, which lasted two days, when there were over 
twelve hundred ; and, though there was " plenty of wine and strong 
beer " to be had, yet, such is the testimony, there was " no man 
drunk, no oath sworn, no quarrel, no hurt done." This was the 
golden age of New England musters. 

There were two fortifications in the town, " the Hill Fort " and 
" the Battery." The former, on Town Hill, on the site of the 
present Congregational church, was first built in 1629, under 
the direction of Mr. Graves " with pallisadoes and flankers made 
out." This was considered of sufficient consequence to be 
encouraged by the colony. The Court, March 3, 1636, voted 
"twenty pounds, to make a platform and breast-work, for three 


pieces of ordnance at the Hill Fort," and ordered the inhabitants 
to finish " said work at their own proper charges before the General 
Court of May next. This fort was maintained at great expense 
to the town, for more than forty years ; a rate, for instance, of 
£T7, 18s. 6d. was levied, in 1653, to repair it. In, 1670, Septem- 
ber 25, it was ordered that "the great guns now mounted on the 
Town Hill, by reason of endangering Mr. Shepherd's and the Town 
House grass, shall not be discharged at the Hill, in future, unless 
the militia see just cause. And the guns for salutes be improved 
in some other place." After this time, the Hill Fort appears to 
have been abandoned. 

The "Battery" was ordered to be built by the General Court, 
which, in 1634, appointed a large committee, consisting of Cap- 
tains Underhill, Patrick, and Mason, Mr. Beecher, and others, to 
locate it, and lay out the works. It was situated near Swett's wharf. 
Johnson commends the public spirit of this town in military mat- 
ters, and writes, that, in the active men, " it hath not been inferior 
except in numbers," to Boston. " Although," he adds, when com- 
mending Robert Sedgwick, and rather unjustly to Captains Mason 
and Underhill, " Charles Town do not advantage such or'e-topping 
batteries as Boston, yet hath he (Sedgwick) erected his to very 
good purpose, insomuch that all shipping that comes in, must 
needs face it all the time of their coming in." The town contin- 
ued to maintain, and chiefly at its own expense, a battery near 
this site, — for the location appears to have been once changed, — 
until the Revolution. It appointed a gunner, and the works were 
regularly inspected by the colony. There is much matter on the 
town records and in the colony files about it, and in 1774 it will 
furnish the occasion of an interesting reminiscence. 

The earliest notice of a provision for the Poor, occurs October 
3, 1635, when it was voted " that widow Morly be monthly kept 
from House to House throughout the town, at 3s. in winter, and 
2s. in summer, per week." In 1637, a room was provided for her 
in the watch-house. In 1640, another notice of this sort reads as 
follows : " Thomas Gold, was allowed ,£3, 10s. for the widow 
Wood for one year past, which was allowed by the Treasurer." 

There is no record of the number of the inhabitants at this period. 
In 1636, the whole number was seventy-two, who had wives and chil- 
dren. From that date to 1640, one hundred and twenty-seven were 
admitted. The population was probably not far from one thousand. 



The relative importance of the town may be gathered by com- 
paring the taxes assessed upon it with those of some of the prin- 
cipal towns : — 

Date of Rate. 









£ 50. 

£ 7. 

£ 11. 

£ 5. 

£ 11. 

£ 3. 

£ 7. 























































For nearly half a century the inhabitants were divided into free- 
men and non-freemen. To become a freeman, it was necessary 
to be a church member, and to subscribe the freeman's oath, bind- 
ing the person taking it to maintain the government of the Com- 
monwealth. Then he became qualified to vote and to be voted for. 

The Town Officers were: — 1. The Selectmen, then called the 
" seven men," or the " Townsmen." The board commonly con- 
sisted of seven persons. Their duties were more general than those 
of the same officers to-day, — acting as assessors and overseers of the 
poor. 2. Constables who, in addition to such duties as pertain to 
their office, then collected the taxes. 3. Surveyors of Highways, 
who acted under the Selectmen, and directed the labor on the 
streets. " Every man, and boy above ten years old " were 
obliged (1646) to work one day in a year on a highway ; and every 
one that had one hundred pounds stock, " a day for that," and so 
above or under proportionably. A team and three beasts were 
" to goe for three days," and one beast "for two days." Ail were 
required " to bee at work by eight o'clock," and " no man to send 
a boy instead of a man." The fine for neglect was 2s. 6d. 
4. Town Clerks, and clerk of the writs, who granted summonses 
and attachments in civil actions. 5. The Herdsman, who, with 
a boy to assist him, drove the three herds to their pastures. He 
was required to be at Antony Dick's Corner, (near Austin and 
Main-streets,) in the morning, " when the sun was half an hour 
high, whither people are to bring their cows at that time,' 1 ' — the 
dilatory who " came after the first putting forth " of the herd, were 
obliged to pay Qd. a cow. His pay for the year was eighty bushels 
of Indian corn, *' the grass in the swamp," and a pound of butter 
" upon each cow " he kept ; but the boy that assisted him was to 
have " twenty pounds of the butter," and 6s. a week paid to him 
by the town. 6. Overseers of the Fields. They had the general 


oversight of these enclosures ; attended to fencing, watering places, 
keeping them clear of intruders ; watching lest people put more 
beasts in than they had a right to ; seeing that all the swine were 
"yoakt and runge,"— the " yoak" to be two feet long, and every 
"yoak" to have " a pick upward of six inches high, on penalty of 
twelve-pence fine. 7. The chimney sweepers, who (1648) were 
to see that all the chimneys in the town be sufficiently daubed 
from the mantell-tree to the head or top of the chimney, and 
that each chimney top be at least three feet high above the top 
of the thatch. Every chimney was required to be swept once a 
month in winter — once in two months in summer. 8. A few other 
officers were required by law to be chosen, though none at this 
time (1640) are named in the records. 

The freemen voted, 1. for Governor, Deputy Governor, Major 
General, Treasurer, Secretary, and Commissioner of the United 
Colonies. For a few years the freemen of all the towns were obliged 
to go to one place to vote, but at this time (1640) they might cast 
their votes before the constable, or their deputies, who carried 
them, sealed up, to the place of election, generally Boston. The 
ballots were to be put into the box " open, or once folded, not twisted 
or rolled up." The freemen also elected assistants or magistrates. 
But this election was to be by corn and beans ; the " corn to man- 
ifest election, the beans, contrary." A person putting in more than 
one of either, or voting when he had no right to vote, was liable to 
a penalty of ten pounds. The elections thus early were not always 
more quiet than they are sometimes now. An instance is affjrc'ed 
in the contest between Winthrop and Vane in 1637. Then there 
was considerable rallying of voters ; for the Newbury men went 
forty miles on foot to vote for Winthrop ; x and some political ora- 
tory ; for Rev. John Wilson, in his zeal, " gat upon the bough of 
a tree," — for the election was " carried on in the field," — and 
made a speech " advising the people to look to their charter," and 
proceed to vote. Vane's friends desired to postpone the election ; 
but Mr. Wilson's speech, writes Hutchinson, " was well received 
by the people, who presently called out, election ! election ! which 
turned the scale." 2 Winthrop was successful: his opponents 
"grew into fierce speeches, and some laid hands on others; " there 
was "great danger of tumult that day." 3 2. The freemen voted 

l Coffin's Newbury, p. 23. 2 Hutchinson, vol. i. p. 62. 3 Winthrop, 
vol. i. p. 220. 


for Deputies, or Representatives, who were chosen by " papers." 
None but freemen could be deputies, and no freeman " unsound 
in judgment concerning the main points of the Christian religion, 
as they have been held forth and acknowledged by the generality 
of the Protestant writers. As the town contained more than twenty 
freemen, it was entitled to two deputies, for whose services it was 
obliged to pay 2s. 6d. a day, during attendance at Court. 3. Grand 
Jurymen, who generally consisted of the most valuable inhabitants. 

Town meetings were held as often as occasion required. No 
intimation is given in the records of the place of meetings, or of 
the mode of conducting them. In other towns, as to-day, a Mode- 
rator was chosen, who, if an elder or deacon were not present, 
opened the meeting with prayer. Each speaker, on rising, took 
off his hat, and was not allowed to be interrupted ; small fines 
were imposed for non-attendance, or for leaving the meeting with- 
out permission. In them, " every man, whether inhabitant, or 
fforreiner, free or not free," — so ordered the Court in 1641, — had 
liberty to make any motion, prefer any complaint, or present any 
petition, — whereof the meeting had cognizance, — " so it be done 
in convenient time, due order, and respective manner." Such, 
from the first, were these "glories of New England," as they have 
been called. These little assemblies, thus open to all, where de- 
bate run as free as thought, were the primary schools of freedom. 
In selecting officers, deciding about dividing the land, supporting 
schools and the ministry, making by-laws, and discussing Parlia- 
mentary measures, there was evolved an independence of mind, 
and manliness of character, that constituted a wide and admirable 
preparation for more important political action. Their influence 
was decided. Andross, when he suppressed them, Hutchinson, 
when he denounced them, and the British Parliament, when it 
prohibited them, knew what they were about. Such action on the 
part of their enemies, is a solid testimonial of their value. One of 
their friends, — of the highest authority, — assigns them the credit 
of having commenced the American Revolution. 1 

The early votes of these meetings are worthy of notice. At first, 
— as already quoted, — they relate to dividing the land, building 
fences and making fields. The town voted, in 1633, a bounty of 
" a penny upon every acre of planted land, for killing an old fox " 

1 Judge Story, in Niles' Register, vol. xlviii. p. 169. 


within its limits, and " half-a-penny for every young fox; " in 1635, 
that whoever had been warned forty-eight hours before a town 
meeting, " and shall fail, unless the occasion be extraordinary, 
shall forfeit and pay 18c?.; " in 1636, that a committee " settle the 
rates of all workmen, laborers, and servant's wages, and for cart 
and boat hire ; " also, a fine of 5s., " for every tree felled and not 
cut up," and at the end of six days, that any other might " cut up 
the tops and take the tree ; " in 1637, that the wharves should be, 
" on pain of 10s.," " kept clear of timber and fire-wood," that 
" hay and other things" might be landed, which were to remain 
" not above two days after landing, upon pain of 12c/. each day ; " 
in 1638, that no inhabitant sell his estate to a foreigner without 
consent of the town ; for doing which, Robert Hawkins was fined 
19s., which was " levied by distress." 

Colonial legislation at this period, aimed at the whole of domes- 
tic life. If the citizens reproached the government, they were 
liable to be fined, set in the bilboes, and disfranchised ; if they took 
tobacco publicly, " or privately in their houses, before acquaint- 
ances or strangers," the penalty was 2s. 6d. ; if they sold certain 
goods for more than four-pence in a shilling profit, they were fined ; 
the fair sex could not wear short sleeves, nor those more than half 
an ell wide; none could sell " lace to be worn upon any garment 
or linnen ; " though they might sell " binding or small edging." 
This list might be easily extended. These laws were not dead letter. 
Major Sedgwick was admonished for selling goods too high ; Nicho- 
las Davison was fined for swearing an oath ; Robert Shorthus, for 
another oath, had his tongue put into a cleft stick, and thus stood 
for half an hour ; and at another time, for saying " if the magis- 
trates had any thing to say to him, they might come to him," was 
committed ; and for again slighting them in his speeches, was set 
in the bilboes. Ambrose Martin, for traducing the church cove- 
nant and the ministers, was fined ten pounds, " and councilled to 
go to Mr. Mather to be instructed." 

Much of this must be regarded as vexatious and arbitrary; and 
in such matter, those disposed may find ample material for coarse 
abuse of the Puritans. Still, none of it was peculiar to them. For 
ages government had controlled people in their religion, manufac- 
tures, trade, dress and diet. At this time, in England, the right 
to carry on almost every kind of business, was farmed to a Court 
favorite, who retailed rights to others ; and in addition, there were 


the ruinous exactions of the Guilds. 1 The error of the colonists 
consisted in not rejecting the whole of such absurdities instead of 
a part of them ; what they retained, however, were transient in 
character, and have, one by one, taken their places among the things 
that were. 

But how nobly were those errors redeemed ! Our citizens, as a 
general thing, in an age of restriction and tyranny, enjoyed perso- 
nal security ; inviolability of property ; jury trial ; freedom to en- 
gage in business ; town meetings ; education for their children ; an- 
nual elections ; a government of laws and not of men ; and the right 
of making the laws, which, if arbitrary, were still to be tested on 
those who made them, and could correct them. Such principles 
were permanent ; and, as time rolled on, were more firmly grasped, 
and more intelligently defended. It was the mission of the Colo- 
nial age to battle for them, and successfully ; and now they are the 
corner-stones of the republic. Two centuries ago the freemen of 
this town understood well their comparative situation, — looking 
far deeper than they who only see the transient to denounce it, 
while they are blind to that which was grand and permanent ; they 
declared themselves " the most happy people they knew of in the 
world." 2 

The pursuits of the inhabitants for the first ten years were chiefly 
farming and building. They brought over materials for their pur- 
suits : stock for their farms ; clothing for their families ; and tools 
to carry on their trades. Their " homesteads " were humble places 
indeed ; with rough walls, thatched roofs and " catted chimneys." 
At this time the deeds begin to mention " the mansion house," 
and probably here and there a stately building might be seen 
rising among the more humble dwelling-places. 

In 1640 there were in town, tailors, coopers, rope-makers, gla- 
ziers, tile-makers, anchor-smiths, collar-makers, charcoal-burners, 
joiners, wheelwrights, blacksmiths ; there was a brew-house, a 
salt-pan, a potter's kiln, a saw-pit, a wind-mill, a water-mill near 
Spot Pond, and (certainly in 1645) the old tide mill at the Middle- 
sex Canal landing. 3 

1 Anderson's History of Commerce, passim. 

2 Petition of Charlestown Freemen, 1668, in Mass. Archives. 

3 Major Sedgwick and Dea. Stitson were part owners of this mill, and 
undoubtedly built it. I have an agreement between them and John Mou- 
sall the miller, dated 1645. 


No town had better men, the most of whom have already been 
noticed. It was largely indebted to Robert Sedgwick, 1 Francis 
Willoughby and Richard Russell, — all enterprising merchants, 
public spirited citizens. They, with others, had already com- 
menced a prosperous business, and built shops, ware-houses and 
wharves. They exported furs, lumber, pipe-staves, and frames of 
buildings. A petition of Francis Willoughby, and others, dated 
1041, evinces the growing trade of this town and Boston. It states 
that they had invested a great part of their estates in " building 
ware-houses and framing wharves," to facilitate the landing of 
goods, " not only from about home but from further parts," and 
pray that the Court would " appoint a certain rate for wharfage, 
porterage, and houseing of goods." Mr. Willoughby's wharves 
were on each side of the old Ferry-ways : Major Sedgwick's near the 
old Town Dock. Willoughby had a ship-yard on the site of the 
Fitchburg Railroad Depot, or in Warren Avenue; and was, in 
1641, building a ship. The town, to encourage the enterprise, 
gave him liberty " to take timber from the common," and without 
" being bound to cut up the tops of the trees." 

The early writers exult over the ten years just reviewed. " God 
hath at once subdued the proud Pequots, and the proud opinions 
that rose up in the land; and for plenty, never had the land the 
like. Yea what is better, the word of God grows and multiply- 
eth," writes one : 2 " The golden age of New England when vice 
was crushed as well by the civil as the sacred sword ; especially 
oppression; extortion in prices and wages, which is injustice done 
to the public," writes another. 3 The colonists had risen from 
penury to plenty ; they had comfortable " houses, gardens, or- 
chards," " so that strangers seeing such a forme and face of a 
commonwealth appearing in all the plantation," " wondered at 
God's blessing on their endeavors." It was with evident pride 
added, — "all these upon our own charges, no publick hand 
reaching out any help." 4 

1 " A very brave, zealous and pious man," Carlyle's Cromwell, vol. ii. 
p. 198. 

2 New England's Tears for Old England's Fears, 1640. 3 Hubbard. 

4 New England's First Fruits. 



1640. — Charlestown Village. — Location. — Municipal Government. — 
Woburn Incorporated. — Extract from its Records. — Woburn Church 
Organized. — Thomas Carter. — His Ordination. — Boundaries. — A 
Letter. — Final Agreement. — Land of Nod. 

The territory called Woburn was regarded in 1640, as "re- 
mote land," whose roads were Indian pathways, with crevices of 
rocks and clefts of trees for shelters. To explore it, or occupy it 
was viewed as a " great labor," not to be undertaken without prayer, 
not to be accomplished without danger. The history of its 
settlement, minutely detailed by the early authorities, affords a good 
illustration of some of the peculiarities of the times, and of the way 
in which towns were organized. 

In May, 1640, Charlestown petitioned the General Court for a 
grant of land "to accommodate such useful men as might settle" 
here, and form " a village for the improvement of such remote 
lands as are already laid out;" hence the grants of May 13 and 
October 7, 1640, made on the condition of their being built upon 
within two years. 1 A committee, September 28 and November 4, 
were appointed to locate "The Village," who were instructed 
" to advise with Mr. Nowell and the elders in any difficulties they 
meet with." This Committee, November 17, agreed as follows : 

" That (beside the land already granted by the Court to particular men) 
there shall be laid out at the head of the new grant betwixt Cambridge 
Line and Lynn, quite throughout, land at such breadth as shall contain 
three thousand acres to remain as their proper land to accommodate with 
farms there such as they shall have occasion. 

Second, That the bounds between Charlestown and the village shall 
be from the Partition of the Ponds to the north-west corner of Mr. Cra- 
dock's Farm, and from thence to that part of Lynn village (since called 

] See page 53. The last grant is in the following words : 1640, Oc- 
tober 7. At a General Court : — Charlestowne petition is granted 
them the proportion of four miles square, with their former last grant to 
make a village ; whereof five hundred acres is granted to Mr. Thomas 
Coytmore, to be set out by the Court, if the town and he cannot agree ; 
in which they shall not cross Cambridge Line, nor come within a mile of 
Shawshine river, and the great swamp and pond to lie in common." 




Reading) that turns from Charlestown head line by a straight line, provided 
that this line shall be half a mile from the lots in the nearest place ; that 
the lands of the village bordering upon that common may have benefit of 
common for milch cattle and working cattle. And the village is to allow- 
so much land as shall be taken in more than the straight line besides the 
three thousand acres. 

Third, That the place of the village meeting house should be above 
the head of the old bounds near against Robert Cutlers." 

This agreement, the Woburn Records say, " was in part assent- 
ed to but afterwards denied." Difficulties arose ; " many, fearing 
the depopulation " of Charlestown, " had a suspicious eye over " 
the villagers. A new committee were selected " to compound 
any differences; " they, " considering the weightiness of the work 
and the weakness of the persons," held first, a meeting for fasting 
and prayer, and then proceeded with their "great labor." 1 The 
Woburn Records note every step. One meeting was held " be- 
fore Mr. Nowell and Mr. Symmes, who gave them no small dis- 
couragement ; " at another, January 11, 1641, many, after having 
been admitted to sit down with the villagers, "being shallow in 
brains fell off;" at another, February 16, forty gathered to mark 
the " meets and bounds," when, " the way being so plain backward 
that divers never went forward again." At length, February 27, 
Mr. Nowell, " the noble Captain Sedgwick," Lieutenant Sprague 
and others, " advised the removal of the house lots, and place for 
the meeting house to the spot where they were finally located," near 
the centre of the town. The lots were laid out March 6, when the 
settlers. began to build. 

Before this time, however, the villagers had provided a local 
government. They met, December 18, 1640, at the house of Mr. 
Thomas Graves, in Charlestown, and agreed upon a series of 
"Town Orders," which were signed by thirty-two persons, 2 the 

1 " The committee were obliged to spend nights without shelter, "whilst 
rain and snow did bedew their rocky beds." They have recorded one 
remarkable providence as " never to be forgotten." Some of the compa- 
ny sheltering themselves under the body of a large tree, which lay at a 
distance from the ground, no sooner was the last of them come from under 
it, at break of day, than to their amazement it fell ; and they were obliged 
to dig out their provisions, their united strength being insufficient to re- 
move it." — Chickering's Dedication Sermon, p. 14. 

2 The names of the signers were : — 

Edward Johnson, John Seers, Edward Winn, 

Edward Converse, JohnWyman, Henry Belden, 

John Mousall, Francis Wyman, Francis Kendall, 

Ezekiel Richardson, Thomas Graves, John Tedd, 


most of them inhabitants of this town. The preamble to this doc- 
ument, which is too long to quote in full, reads as follows: 
" The free fruition of such liberties and privileges as humanity, 
civility and Christianity calls for as due to every man with his place 
and proportion without impeachment and infringing, which hath 
ever been and ever will be ; the tranquillity and stability of Chris- 
tian Commonwealths, and the denial or the deprival thereof, the dis- 
turbance if not the ruin of both; we hold it therefore our duty," 1 
to subscribe " these orders." The gist of them was, that each in- 
habitant should pay sixpence for every acre then laid out, and for 
all afterwards twelvepence ; that all that did not build in fifteen 
months were to return their lots, and none were to sell to any but 
such as the town should approve of: that all orchards and garden 
plots were to be "well enclosed" by "pale or otherways ;" that 
"no manner of person" should entertain "inmates either married 
or other," more than three days without the consent of " four of 
the Selectmen" under a penalty of sixpence for each day's offence; 
and, finally, that none were to cut young oak timber " under eight 
inches square " under penalty of five shillings for each offence. 
Small things, some may think, to follow so high sounding a pre- 
amble. But let them not be despised; for such are the fibres of 
our national tree. 

In a few months the General Court extended to the villagers sub- 
stantial encouragement. It repealed an existing law providing that 
no immunity should be granted to any new plantation, and the 
next entry on the records grants (June 14, 1641,) to Charlestown 
village " two years immunity from public rates from the end of 
this Court for such stock as they have there only." The next year 
is the act of incorporation : 1642, September 8: 2 "Charlestown 

Samuel Richardson, Nicholas Davis, Henry Tottingham, 

Thomas Richardson, Nicholas Trarice, Richard Lowden, 

William Learned, John Carter, William Greene, 

James Thomson, James Converse, Benjamin Butterfield, 

John Wright, Daniel Bacon, Henry Jefts, 

Michael Bacon, James Parker, John Russell. 

James Britten, Thomas Fuller, 

1 This preamble is a mutilated transcript of the beginning of the " Gen- 
eral Laws and Liberties ot the Massachusetts Colony." See Massachusetts 
Collection, vol. xxxviii. p. 216 where these laws, drawn up by Ward, the 
author of the Simple Cobler of Agawam, are reprinted. 

2 Colony Records. The date of May 18, in American Quarterly Re- 
gister, vol. xi. p. 187, and p. 25 Chickering's Sermon is incorrect. 


Village called Woburn." x Henceforward Woburn is a town co- 
equal in rights and obligations, with its parent town. Its citizens 
regularly gather in town-meetings, choose selectmen, 2 manage 
their local affairs, and send their representative to the General Court. 
The first volume of the Town Records of Woburn commences 
with the following narration of its history by its first Recorder, 
Edward Johnson : the reader may find more of the same kind of 
poetry in the author's Wonder Working Providence : — 


ffrom the year 1640 : the 8 : day of th : 10 month. 

Paulis per Fui.3 

In peniles age I Woburne Towne began ; 

Charles Towne first mou'd the court my lins to span ; 

To vewe my land-place, compild body reare, 4 

Nowell, Sims, Sedgwick, thes my paterons were. 

Sum fearing I'de grow great upon these grounds, 

Poor I wase putt to nurs among the clownes, 5 

Who being taken with such mighty things, 

As had bin work of noble Queeins and Kings — 

Till Babe gan crye and great disturbance make — 

Nurses repent they did hur undertake. 

One leaves her quite — another hee doth hie 

To foren lands free from the Baby's crye. 

To (two) more of seaven, seeing nursing prou'd soe thwarte, 

Thought it more ease in following of the carte. 

A neighbour by, hopeing the Babe wold bee 

A pritty Girl, to rocking hur went hee. 

1 Woburn is the name of a market town in Bedford county, England, — 
the population in 1830 was 1827.— McCulloch's Gazetteer. It is also the 
name of a parish in Buckinghamshire. It is memorable for the case of a con- 
tested election in 1604, when a controversy concerning the election of Sir 
Francis Goodwin proved the cause of establishing the great constitutional 
doctrine, that the House of Commons have the sole right of deciding on 
the validity of their own elections and returns. — Lyson's Buckingham- 
shire, p. 670. 

2 The first board of selectmen were, Edward Johnson, Edward Con- 
verse, John Mousall, William Learned, Ezekiel Richardson, Samuel 
Richardson and James Thomson. The first representative was Edward 
Johnson, who served in this capacity twenty-eight years, and for thirty 
years was town clerk. 

3 I have been a little while : " I " meaning the Town. 

4 This couplet required uncommon abbreviation ere the metre would 
come right to Johnson's critical ear. " Compild body reare " means 
— my compact body to rear. 

5 The distinguished patrons of Woburn, fearing it would one day rival 
Charlestown, discouraged the enterprise, and gave it to those they re- 
garded as of a lower grade in society, or as the " clownes." But difficul- 
ties discouraged them also, and they " repent they did her undertake." 


Two nurses, less undanted then the rest, 1 
Ffirst houses ffinish — thus the Girle gane drest. 
Its rare to see how this poore Towne did rise 
By weakest means — too weak in great ons eys. 
And sure it is, that mettells cleere exstraction 
Had neuer share in this poore Towns erextion. 
Without which metall, and sum fresh suplys, 
Patrons conclud she neuer upp would rise. 
If ever she mongst ladys have a station, 
Say twas ffrom parentes, not her education. 
And now conclud the Lords owne hand it wase 
That with weak means did bring this work to pass. 
Not only Towne, but Sister Church to ade, 
Which out of Dust and ashes now is had. 
Then all inhabit Woburne Towne stay make 
The Lord, not means, of all you undertake. 

But, many discouragements surmounted, the town was still 
but half founded: "It being," Johnson writes in his account of 
Woburn, "as unnatural for a right New England man to live 
without an able ministry, as for a smith to work his iron without a 
fire." Yet the villagers were prudent, — " not rashly running to 
gether themselves into a church, before they had hopes of at- 
taining an Officer to preach the word, and administer the seals 
unto them ; " and for some time they remained members of the 
Charlestown church. "Upon some hope they had of Mr. Carter's 
help," they applied (July 4, 1642,) for permission to form a new 
church. But the old society was " found backward," and they 
" were put off fourteen days, at which time, after much agitation, 
they had liberty to gather a church." They lost nothing, how- 
ever, by waiting, as the history of Maiden church will testify. 

The Woburn church was organized August 14, 1642, when 
there were interesting services. Messengers from the neighboring 
churches formed the council, and Rev. Zechariah Symmes was the 
preacher. One of the magistrates, "the honored Mr. Increase 
Nowell," was present, both " to prevent the disturbance that might 
follow" the introduction into the infant church of "those cursed 
opinions that caused such commotion in this and the other colonies," 
and to " countenance the people of God in so pious a work." All 
about to enter into church communion, stood forth before this 
grave assembly, and related their religious experiences. After the 
elders had questioned them on doubtful points, and they had an- 

1 " A neighbor by " is Johnson, the author of the metre in the text : 
the " two nurses " who persevered were John Mousall and Edward Con- 
verse. Mss. Com. of Rev. Samuel Sewall, to whom I am indebted for 
many favors. 


swered " according to that measure of understanding the Lord 
had given them," and " all were satisfied," they entered into a 
covenant, and received the fellowship of the churches. 1 

A few months later, 1642, November 22, a minister was or- 
dained. Thomas Carter came to this country in 1635, was made 
freeman in 1637, resided some time in Dedham, and, when in- 
vited to preach at Woburn, was a member of the Watertown 
church. 2 Johnson characterizes him as " apt to teach the sound 
and wholesome truths of Christ." The occasion of his induction 
into office furnished an eminent instance of lay ordination. It 
was not done without differences and discussion. The Woburn 
church had no elder, " nor any members fit," so Winthrop writes, 
" to solemnize such an ordinance." Some advised that the church 
should desire the elders of other churches to perform the cere- 
mony ; others, fearing the tendency to " a dependency of churches," 
and "soa presbytery, would not allow it." It was done by the 
laymen. After Mr. Carter " had exercised in preaching and 
prayer the greater part of the day," two persons in the name of 
the church laid their hands upon his head, and said, " We ordain 
thee, Thomas Carter, to be pastor of this church of Christ," and 
one of the elders closed by prayer. Winthrop was evidently dis- 
pleased with the service : the ceremony, he writes, was performed 
" not so well and orderly as it ought." 3 

A controversy respecting the boundaries between the two towns 
continued several years. An unusual vote appears on the records 
relative to it, dated May 8, 1643, when it is stated that the 
" church." chose four men to settle the difficulties ; the Woburn 
records also mention that the " church " of Charlestown appoint- 
ed commissioners to act in relation to this business. How far the 
church claimed or exercised authority, in this transaction, does 
not appear. A few years later, March 17, 1646, the new town 
agreed " to send to the Selectmen of Charlestown " the following 
admirable letter, 4 a model of directness of purpose and Christian 
courtesy : — 

' ' To our much respected and much approved good ffreinds of Charls- 
towne, chosen to order the prudentiall affaiers therof. 
" Much Respected and Antieut ffreinds : 

i The quotations are from Wonder Working Providence, chapter 22. 

2 Amer. Quarterly Register, vol. xi. p. 187. — Chickering's Dedication 
Sermon, p. 25. 

3 Winthrop, vol. ii. p. 91. 4 Woburn Records. 


Wee are Bould to interupt your presant presious Implyments -with. 
Request for Issue of those things which sartaine of our Beloved Brethren 
amoung you were chosen unto. Now our humble Request is, that they 
may End it forthwith. If otherwise they cannot so doe, our further Re- 
quest is, that sume others unintrested in the things may put a ffreindly 
Isue to the same. Our last Request is, that if nether of these will doe, 
then in a brotherly and ffreindly way to petistion to the generall Court, 
that wee may not bequeth matter of differance to our posteryty. Thus 
with hope of a presant answer in uritting to our soe Resanabl Request, 
Wee Remain yours to be commanded 
in all Saruis of love in Christ our Lord." 

This letter did not produce an immediate settlement. In 1049, 
March 3, four of the selectmen of Woburn were chosen to speak 
with their " brethren of Charlestown " about " settling the bounds 
suddenly." At length, in 1651, January 10, the business was 
concluded, and an agreement entered at length upon the Re- 
cords. It provides; first, that the line of division between the 
two towns shall run " from Cambridge Line by the north-west end 
of Mr. Nowell's lot and so all along between Mr. Symmes's farm 
and Edward Converse's farm until it come to the east side " 
of those adjoining Charlestown common : second, that Woburn 
shall have five hundred acres of land out of this common — making 
here a fence "of two rails" to constitute the boundary line be- 
tween the two towns. Third, that Charlestown shall have three 
thousand acres of land within the bounds of Woburn, to begin 
" at the uttermost corner northerly, next Reading Line, and so to 
run southerly along two miles deep on the east side of Shawshine 
Line," till the tract amounted to three thousand acres. x 

1 The Charlestown Records contain much matter about this tract, 
called the " Land of Nod." The town retained an interest in it ; how 
much does not appear, but enough to produce trouble and litigation, and 
for a century (to 1742) committees were, at intervals, appointed to look 
after it. Still there is no clear account of this land in the records. 

Charlestown, in a large division of its territory, April 23, 1638, allotted 
a tract, extending between Lynn and Cambridge, called the " Great 
Plot," — the " remote lands" alluded to in the petition of 1640 (see page 
105) When Woburn was incorporated it was agreed that the bounda- 
ry line should run so that a part of this " Great Plot," together with five 
hundred acres of commons adjacent to it, should belong to Woburn ; while 
Charlestown was recompensed by retaining the proprietorship of three 
thousand acres of land, lying at the northern extremity of the four mile 
square grant, though, for municipal purposes, this also was assigned to 
Woburn. This three thousand acres — described in the text — was called 
the " Land of Nod," — the name being probably suggested by a compari- 
son of its forlorn condition, — so far remote from church ordinances, — with 
the Nod to which Cain wandered when he went " from the presence of 
the Lord." — Genesis, iv. Its Indian name is given in an old deed, Nena 
Saawaattawattocks, and the " old Saggamore of these parts," was 
John Tahattawon. 


Woburn, besides these difficulties, had trouble in dividing its own 
lands. There is extant a curious petition to the General Court, 
signed by twenty-five of its citizens, dated October 7, 1667, and 

Though Woburn had municipal jurisdiction over Nod, yet it never 
claimed to own rights in its soil. Charlestown, accordingly, originally 
granted it to individuals. Under date of 1643 there is a record as follows : 
" Proportions of Land granted out to these folio 3 

Robert Sedgwick, 


William Stitson, 


Zacheriah Symmes, 


William Phillips, 


Thomas Allen, 


Ralph Woory, 


Richard Russeil, 


Robert Cooke, 


Francis Willoughby, 


Thomas Graves, 


John Allen, 


Mr. Barnard, 


This was the original grant of Nod, though it was not laid out until 
seven years afterwards, nor lotted out until 1718. Of these proprietors, 
Graves and Sedgwick, Cooke and others, resigned their lots to the town. 
The latter, in 1652, granted five hundred acres of Nod to Captain Francis 
Norton, retaining a propriety of part of it. Nod lay in common for many 
years, some of its proprietors neglecting to look after it. Francis Wil- 
loughby bought the shares granted to Francis Norton and John Allen, and 
then owned one thousand one hundred and fifty acres. In 1683, May 1, 
Lawrence Hammond, who had married Governor Willoughby's widow, 
sold this quantity to John Hull. Judge Sewall married Mr. Hull's 
daughter, and thus came into the possession of rights in Nod. He (about 
1703) anthorized the Richardsons', of Woburn, to cut timber on it. On 
hearing of this, Charlestown appointed a committee to examine its rights 
to the land of Nod, who reported, 1704, December 25. The following 
is an extract from this report : " We are informed that there are several 
persons that claim part of that tract of land (Nod) which we cannot allow 
of, for we are very well satisfied that this tract of land was originally the 
land that Woburn exchanged with Charlestown, for lands then belonging 
to Charlestown, and we cannot find any record that this land was ever 
legally conveyed to any particular person." 

The other claimants were five citizens of Andover, who exhibited a deed 
from " Sam Johnson, grandson and heir " of the old Saggamore Tahat- 
tawon, who for nine pounds relinquished, " all Indian and native rights " 
to Nod, or its native name Nena Saawaattawattocks. The town accepted 
the report of its committee, contested the right of Judge Sewall, and 
claimed the whole of Nod. The case was tried at a Special Court on the 18th 
of September, 1705, when the decision was against the town. The lat- 
ter appealed to the Superior Court, which affirmed the former judgment. 
(Mss. Com. Rev. Samuel Sewall.) The result was, that the town had 
but a share of Nod, instead of owning the whole. The rights of individ- 
ual proprietors being thus confirmed, they met at Charlestown, April 14, 
1718, and voted to divide the whole three thousand acres. Captain 
Burnap, a noted surveyor, was employed to draw a plan of it. 

In the same year, November 12, the land was lotted out. (Judge Sew- 
all's Mss. Com. by Rev. Samuel Sewall.) After this, several committees 
were raised in relation to Nod. A vote of 1742, May 10, indicates that a 
part of the town's share of it had been sold, and a committee was then 
authorized to sell the remainder. 

Such is the early history of Wilmington, incorporated in 1730, and 
made up of the land of Nod with a part of Reading. To this day the 
tract between Lubber's Brook and Andover Line, among the farmers of 
that region, goes by the soporific name of Nod. 


beginning : — " May it please this honorable court to vouchsafe some 
help to our town of Woburn in dividing a lump of this wilderness 
earth." The church, however, lived in harmony with its minister 
more than forty-two years. Mr. Carter died September 5, 1684. 
In ten years the town increased to about sixty families — the 
church to seventy-four members. But it would be obviously impro- 
per to devote further space to Woburn — it shared largely in the 
early dangers, and partook of the prosperity of the country. 


1640 to 1650. — Commerce. — Bountv on Wolves. — Shops. — The 
Castle. — Harvard College. — The" Tide Mills.— Town Hill.— 
Rate for a School. — Petition of the Ferrymen. — Customs on Wines. 
— Case of Witchcraft. — Town Order. — A Fire. — Johnson's De- 
scription of the Town. 

For several years the town affords, in its corporate capacity, 
but few details for history. The civil war in England secured to 
the colonists the luxury of neglect, and Cromwell was their undis- 
guised friend. " 'Tis incredible," writes Nathaniel Mather, from 
London, in 1651, " what an advantage to preferment it is to have 
been a New Englishman." x During this period the towns were 
silently laying the foundations of their prosperity. 

1640. The cessation of emigration was severely felt. Hereto- 
fore there had been a scarcity of goods. This year " there came 
over great store of provisions, both out of England and Ireland," 
and the market was glutted. All commodities grew very cheap, 
and " this evil," writes Winthrop, " was very notorious, that most 
men would buy as cheap as they could and sell as dear." The 
next year, he writes again, " corn would buy nothing, a cow 
which last year cost twenty pounds, might now be bought for 
four or five pounds," 2 and the price of land declined in the same 

i Mather's Mss. in Mass. Hist. Society Archives. 
2 Winthrop's Hist. vol. ii. 


1641. The town voted, "that whosoever should kill any wolf 
within the Neck, or in any part of the Milch-cow Common, shall 
receive from the constable of the town ten shillings for each wolf 

1642. Liberty was granted to the deacons to build shops on 
"the two sides of the meeting house;" in 1645 it was voted that 
the house " be floored over and two thirds to be carried on by Mr. 
Russell and a third by a general rate — Mr. Russell having liberty 
" to build shops on the outside of the house ;" in 1648 Joshua Tedd 
had permission to build one " on the north-east side of the east 
door ;" in 1652, Ensign Richard Sprague had the grant of " a 
place to set up a shop" near the meeting house, " also," the vote 
continues, " he and brother Tedd are to join, if brother Tedd will, 
in making the portal over the meeting house door. But if bro- 
ther Tedd will not join, then the Ensign to make it alone and enjoy 
it, provided he do neither let the shop nor portal, or that on it, nor 
sell any of them to any person without the Townsmen's consent." 
At this time the town decided that no more shops should be built 
on any side of the house. 

1643. The town assumed a part of the expense of maintaining 
the Castle on Castle Island, concerning which there is much 
matter on the Records. Two platforms and a small fortification, 
built of " lime burnt of oyster shells " in 1634, had decayed; and 
in 1637 the General Court contemplated discontinuing this de- 
fence. This year (1643) six towns, Boston, Charlestown, Rox- 
bury, Dorchester, Cambridge and Watertown, believing they were 
too much exposed to an enemy, determined to rebuild the Castle, 
and in this, were encouraged by some of the magistrates, and the 
elders " in their sermons." The Court granted one hundred 
pounds towards maintaining it, " rather out of willingness to gratify 
these six towns, being near one half the Commonwealth for num- 
ber of people and substance " than " any confidence of safety by 
it." 1 A rate of 1645, to support it, assigns Charlestown £ 20.16, 
Boston £5'Z. A garrison of twenty men took care of it. For 
many years a tax for the Castle formed a part of the expenses of the 

This year the Colony was divided into four counties, Middlesex, 
Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. There were thirty towns and plan- 

1 Winthrop's History, vol. ii. p. 115. 


1644. The following vote was passed August 27. " It was 
agreed yt. one peck of wheat, or 12d. in money, shall be paid 
by every family towards the maintenance of the College at Cam- 
bridge. It is to be brought in to Sergeant Sprague's and John 
Pentecost by the 21st of the 12th month next ensuing." This 
humble contribution continued to be made many years. In 1647, 
for instance, " at a general meeting of the inhabitants," voted to 
continue to bring in unto Ensign Sprague and John Pentecost a 
peck of corn upon a house as in former years." In a record of 
contributions of eight years, the amount from Boston was £ 84.18.7. 
the next highest is Charlestown, £ 37.16.2. Its prominent citizens 
were active in promoting this great work. Mr. Willoughby, in 
1639, gave twenty-five pounds. Major Sedgwick, in 1642, gave 
forty pounds, and afterwards a shop. Mr. Russell gave nine pounds. 
Mr. Nowell was a warm friend to it. 

1645. An agreement, dated December 11, between John Fow- 
nell x the miller, and Robert Sedgwick and William Stitson part 
owners of the Tide Mill, at the Middlesex Canal Landing, sti- 
pulates that the former is to have one-third part of the profit of 
the mill a year for his services. By law he could not take 
" above one-sixteenth part of the corn he ground," and was obliged 
to keep ready for use " mill weights and scales." The owners 
were to allow " two ditchfuls of corn" every time the mill was 
dressed ; eight gallons of lamp oil, for the use of the mill ; and 
provide a house for the miller to reside in, or pay " thirty shillings 
per annum." 

1646. The following vote, relating to the Town Hill, is one 
of the few original entries in volume second of the Records : 

" At a meeting of the 7 men the 22d of the 12th moneth 1646. 
" It was agreed that the ground on the top of Charlestowne Hill upon 
wb the windmill stands, reaching from the end of goody Shepherdsons 
garden pales on the one syde the highways going along forth right towards 
Mr. Syms his pales end, and the highway that goes along by his pales, and 
so along by Mr. Allen's pales in a square plot : this peece of ground to lye 
comon to the towne for ever, and not to be impropriated by any perticu- 
lar person, and if o r bro : William Stitson can prove that it was given 
him, then hee to be payd a proportionable sume for it out of the skirts of 
land on the ends of the planting ground on mistick side." 

1647. January 20. " It was agreed that a rate of fifteen pounds 

i The reader is requested to correct at the bottom of page 103 ; the 
name should be Fownell. 


should be gathered of the town, towards the school for this year, and 
the five pounds that Major Sedgwick is to pay this year (for the 
island) for the school, also the town's part of Mistick wear for the 
School forever." In the margin, " allowance granted for the 
Town School." 

1648. The ferrymen, Francis Hudson and James Heyden, 
state in a petition to the General Court, that the Ferry never was 
less productive : that contrary to law disorderly passengers would 
press into the boats, and on leaving refuse to pay their fare; that 
some pleaded they had nothing to pay, and others that they were 
in the country's service. And they further state, that the payment 
generally tendered was " usually in such refuse, unwrought, 
broken, unstringed and unmerchantable peag," (wampum,) at six a 
penny, that they lost twopence a shilling, being forced to take 
peag at six a penny and pay it at seven. They petition that 
if the Court intend " all soldiers with their horses and military 
furniture be fare-free," that they might be paid for it by the col- 
ony : that strangers, not able to pay, may be ordered to give in 
their names : that " the peag hereafter to us paid may be so suit- 
ably in known parcels, handsomely stringed, and their value as- 
signed, that it may henceforth be a general, current, and more 
agreeable pay." Probably in consequence of this petition, the 
Court, October 18, ordered that all "payable peag" should be 
"entire without breaches, both the white and black, suitably 
strung in eight known parcels, Id, 3d, 12d, 5s., in white; and 2d, 
6d, 2-6d, and 10s, in black." The Court also ordered that for 
transporting officers in the colony service, the ferryman should be 
allowed £ 4 per annum for the past, and £ 6 for the time to come. 

The General Court " farm-let the customs on wines " imported 
into the colony, to Robert Sedgwick, Richard Russell, and Francis 
Norton, of this town ; and David Yale of Boston. They agreed 
to pay £ 120 a year for four years, and were clothed with full 
power to collect these duties. This year the right to retail wines 
in this town and Boston was sold to Robert Long and other " vint- 
ners " for £ 160 a year. 

Margaret Jones of this town, in May, was accused of witchcraft, 
the first case of this nature that occurred in Massachusetts. Her 
offence probably suggested the following order of the General 
Court, May 18. "The Court desire the course which hath 


been taken in England l for discovery of witches by watching them 
a certain time : It is ordered that the best and surest way may 
forthwith be put in practice to begin this night if it may be, being 
the 18th of 3 month, and that the husband may be confined to a 
private room, and be also there watched." The course adopted 
with the unfortunate woman was an effectual one. The evidence 
against her was, first, that she had " a malignant touch," so that 
persons she afflicted were seized with deafness, vomiting, and vio- 
lent pains : second, she practised as a physician, and though she 
used harmless medicines, as aniseed, liquors, &c, yet they pro- 
duced " extraordinary violent effects :" third, she would tell those 
who would not employ her that they never would be healed, and 
in consequence "their diseases and hurts" baffled "the apprehen- 
sion of all physicians and surgeons :" fourth, some things which 
she foretold came to pass accordingly, and she could tell other 
things, as private speeches, of which she had no ordinary means 
to come to the knowledge. There were other charges not neces- 
sary to detail. For such things this poor creature was condemned 
to suffer death, and was executed, — hanged, — in Boston, June 15. 

Winthrop gravely records, that on " the same day and hour she 
was executed there was a very great tempest at Connecticut, which 
blew down many trees, &c." And several days later (June 28) 
that " the Welcome of Boston, about 300 tons, riding before 
Charlestown, having in her 80 horses and 120 tons of ballast, in 
calm weather, fell a rolling, and continued so about twelve hours." 
The husband of the witch desired a passage in her to Barbadoes. 
The magistrates, on hearing of it, sent a warrant to apprehend 
him, when the ship ceased its diabolical rolling, and after Jones 
was in prison " moved no more." 2 

1649. The following order, — to be found among the original 
documents of this period, — is copied as a specimen of the earliest 
by-laws of the town. The date is Jan. 22, 1649. 

"At a meeting- of the selectmen the 22d of the 11th moneth, 1648 : — 
In regard of the great damage that hath come, not only unto pellicular 

1 There is nothing on the Town Records relating to this case of witch- 
craft. In England, where thirty thousand witches have been executed, 
the practice was various. The town of Lynn, England, voted, May 11, 
1646, " that Alderman Thomas Rivett be requested to send for Mr. Hop- 
kins, the witch-discoverer, to come to Lynn, and his charges and recom- 
pense to be bourne by the town." Richard's Lynn, vol. ii. p. 724. 

2 Winthrop's History, vol. ii. p. 326. 


persons, but to the whole towne by swine, through the multitude of them, 
and there not being sufficiently youkt and runge according untoo former 
orders : It is therefore ordered by the selectmen that no inhabitant of 
this towne shall keep above twoo swine abroad eyther upon the comon 
or in the towne : also that all swine shal bee shutt up every night, and on 
the Lords dayes : and that all swine that doe goe abroad shalbee suffi- 
ciently youkt and runge, that is each swine above a year ould their youks 
to bee twoo foot long, and every youk is to have a pick upward of six 
inches high : and every swine which is found defective the owner is to 
forfeit twelve pence for each defect : and all the swine that goe abroad 
are to be runge by the 28th day of the 11th moneth 1648 : and youkt by 
the 10th day of the first moneth 1649." 

1650. Johnson relates that there was "a terrible fire" in this 
town in the depth of winter. The wind was violent, and it " con- 
sumed the fairest houses of the town." He devotes one of his 
metres to this calamity : 

" Thy houses were consumed with much good store, 
By fearful fires, which blustering winds blew o're." 

This writer also takes this occasion to sum up other calamities, 
as the manifestation "of the rod of God" towards the colonists : 
in Charles River the Mary Rose blew up and " sunk in a moment 
with about thirteen men slain therein :" " many men, under pre- 
text of being unequally rated, murmured exceedingly, and with- 
drew their shoulders from the support of government ;" "pride and 
excess of apparel were frequent," and " far worse," spiritual 
pride delighted " in new-fangled doctrines." 

Johnson also furnishes the following description of Charlestown, 
which will as well apply to this year as to any other. " This town 
of Charles is situated on the north side of Charles River, from 
whence it took its name, the river being about five or six fathom 
deep. Over against the town (are) many small islands lying to 
the seaward of it, and hills on either side. By which means it 
proves a very good harbor for ships, which hath caused many 
seamen and merchants to sit down there. The form of this town 
in the frontispiece thereof, is like the head, neck and shoulders of 
a man, only the pleasant and navigable river of Mistick runs 
through the right shoulder thereof, and by its near approach to 
Charles River, in one place, makes a very narrow neck, by which 
means the chief part of the town, whereon the most buildings 
stands, becomes a Peninsula. It hath a large market-place near 

i The General Court, May 5, 1650, remitted to those who had their 
houses destroyed, £ 7.16 due by them for taxes. 



the water side built round with houses, comely and fair, forth of 
which there issue two streets orderly built with some very fair 
houses, beautified with pleasant gardens and orchards. The whole 
town consists in its extent of about one hundred and fifty dwelling 
houses. Their meeting house for Sabbath assembly stands in the 
market place, very comely built and large. The officers of this 
church are at this day one pastor, and one teacher, one ruling 
elder and three deacons, the number of souls are about one hundred 
and sixty. Wonderful it is to see that in so short a time such great 
alterations Christ should work for these poor people of his. Their 
corn land in tillage in this town is about twelve hundred acres : 
their great cattle are about four hundred head ; sheep near 
upon four hundred. As for their horse, you shall hear of them, 
God willing, when we come to speak of their military discipline." 1 

l Wonder Working Providence, chapter 18. 
come down to 1652, and was printed in 1654. 

This history purports to 

BUILT 1840. 



1650. — Mistick Side. — Settlements. — Maiden Incorporated. — Church 
Gathered. — Marmaduke Matthews — his Ordination. — Congrega- 
tionalism. — Matthews accused — his Defence — his Confession — his 
Fine. — Petition in his Behalf — his Confession to the Court. — 
Maiden Church Arraigned — its Defence — its Fine. — Submission of 
the Church. — Departure of Matthews. — Maiden Ministers. 

The grant of the land, now Maiden, to Charlestown, with the 
first division of it, has been already noticed. x In 1638, April 6, 
the town voted to reserve a large part of it " for such desirable per- 
sons as should be received in," or for " such as may come with 
another minister;" which is described as lying " at the head of the 
five acre lots " and " running in a straight line from Powder Horn 
Hill to the head of North River, together with " three hundred 
acres above Cradock's Farm." With this exception, the greater 
portion of the tract which, until 1724, was Maiden, was divided, 
April 23, 1638, among the inhabitants of Charlestown. 

Before the year 1640, a few of the inhabitants had settled at 
Mistick side. In a few years, from 1641 to 1648, there are re- 
cords of highways having been made, commonage provided, and 
the public fields rented. In 1649, January 1, a large committee 
was chosen from the inhabitants residing on this side of the river, 
"to meet three chosen brethren on Mistick side," to agree upon 
the terms of a separation, and the boundaries of a new town. This 
committee made an elaborate Report beginning : " To the end the 
work of Christ,and the things of his house therein hand, may be more 
comfortably carried on, it is agreed as followeth :" that the Mistick 
side men should be a town by themselves. Among the conditions, 
were these, that Charlestown should retain Nowell's and Wilson's 
farms, that it should have liberty to water cattle at the North Spring 
until harvest time, and that Maiden should bear a part of the bur- 
den of maintaining the Battery of this town and the Castle. The 
remaining clauses, with one exception, relate to commonage, 
landing places, and highways. The tenth condition reads thus : 
" For further encouragement of the work aforesaid we acquit the 

1 See page 52. 


inhabitants within the line of Charlestown from church charges 
for three years next ensuing and no more." * In all these proceed- 
ings there appears to have been remarkable harmony, — the Mai- 
den people being generally mentioned as " our brethren," and 
"our friends." The town was soon incorporated; the Colony 
Records say, May 2, 1649 ; " upon the petition of Mistick side 
men, they are granted to be a distinct town, and the name thereof 
to be " Maulden." 2 

During this period, or until 1650, the "Mistick side men," 
although they had probably gathered a church, had no ordained 
minister ; and Mr. Sargeant " a Godly Christian," and " some 
young students from the College," " broke to them the seals." 
In 1650 they invited Rev. Marmaduke Matthews to settle with 
them. 3 He was born in Swansea, graduated at Oxford February 
20, 1624, at the age of eighteen ; arrived in this country Septem- 
ber 21, 1638; and, with his wife Catharine, united with the Bos- 
ton Church February 6, 1639. 4 He settled first at Yarmouth; and 
afterwards, it is supposed in 1644, removed to Hull. 

Mr. Matthews was very zealous in his profession, a decided spir- 
itualist, and had many peculiarities of character. His style of preach- 
ing, and his opinions on doctrinal points, differed from those of 
his contemporaries ; and this lost him the " approbation of some 
able understanding men, among both magistrates and ministers." 
Among other things, he held the " Scriptures to be the foundation 
of a dogmatical and historical faith, but not of a saving faith." 5 
To-day he would probably be classed as of the transcendental school 
of divines. In his time, so exceptionable were his views, that the 
General Court, as early as 1649, judged him guilty of uttering 
expressions, some of which were " erroneous," and others " weak, 
inconvenient and unsafe ; " and ordered Governor Endicott, in its 
name, to admonish him," 6 

1 Charlestown Records. 

2 Colony Records. Maiden is the name of a parish in the county of 
Surrey, England. It was written Maeldune by the Saxons, being composed 
of two words mail, a cross and dune, a hill. In the Conqueror's Survey 
it is spelt Meldone ; in subsequent records it is written Meaudon, Mauden, 
Maldon and Maiden. — Lyson's Environs of London, vol. i. p. 241. Mal- 
don is the name of a market town in Essex county. 

3 Wonder Working Providence, book iii. chap. 7. 

4 Hon. James Savage. 5 Mass. Hist. Col., vol. xxxi. p. 31. 
6 Colony Records. Mr. Matthews appears to have left Hull in 1649, 



When such was the standing of Mr. Matthews, it was natural 
that his preaching should be narrowly watched, and that 
the jealous should find in its peculiarities, more " unsafe and un- 
sound" expressions. Hence two churches, Charlestown and 
Roxbury, wrote to their Maiden brethren not to ordain him as 
their minister. The latter, in reply, requested that any " sin " in 
their pastor elect might be pointed out, and they would consider it. 
No reply was received from Roxbury, previous to the ordination, 
and only the views of Mr. Nowell from Charlestown ; but whether 
in behalf of the church or as a magistrate, is not stated. Mr. 
Matthews was ordained ; " although some neighbor churches," 
Johnson says, "were unsatisfied therewith:" "without," Hub- 
bard writes, "the approbation of neighboring churches and allow- 
ance of the magistrates, if not against the same." 

At this period the ecclesiastical polity of the Colony, though 
settled by the Cambridge Platform, had not been practically defined. 
There appear to have prevailed two opinions relative to the rights 
of the churches. One was, that Congregationalism was sub- 
stantial independency ; or a right and capacity in each church to 
maintain a pure worship, elect and ordain its officers, and manage 
its affairs. 2 The other was, that Congregationalism was consistent 
with a hierarchy, of which the State was the proper head ; and as 
such, that it was the duty of the civil power to protect the churches 
from heresy and schism. The Maiden church took the former 
ground, and hence proceeded independently of the advice of other 
churches, or of the magistrates. For this, it was accused before 
the General Court, which took this occasion to define its authority 
over the churches. It is their connection with this principle, 
that makes the details of this controversy as important as they are 

The Court dealt first with Mr. Matthews, who was cited to ap- 
pear before it; and, June 18, 1650, granted " time to give satisfac- 
tion." Besides failing to do this, he gave new offence at Maiden ; 

as this town petitioned the Court to encourage him " to return to them." 
The Court, May 2, 1649, thought it " no way meet " to grant this request. 
2 The Cambridge Platform (1648) claimed for the churches, as their 
right, the power of ordaining their officers, which was defined "the 
solemn putting a man into his place and office in the church, whereunto 
he had rights before by election." — Chap. xi. 2. 4. See an excellent 
note on this point in American Quarterly Register, vol. xii., by the Rev. 
Samuel Sewall. 


for, a year later> 1651, May 7, he was again summoned be- 
fore the same tribunal to answer concerning " former and later 
miscarriages." On the 15th the passages he had delivered in his 
sermons were read by his accusers ; which, " though he owned 
them not," were proved upon him, under oath, by depositions from 
such citizens as Thomas Lynde 1 and John Hawthorne. Mr. 
Matthews replied to them in detail, commencing as follows : — 

" To ye accusations exhibited against Marmaduke Mathewes before ye 
general court at Boston ye 15 of ye 3 month 1651. In his name and pre- 
sence whose I am, and whom 1 desire to serve, and yt wth Child like frame, 
— as also forevermore to rejoice in, and yt with christian trembling, I 
ye sayd accused, M. M. thinke good thus to answere." 

This paper, dated May 26, is an elaborate document, that would 
occupy several pages of this type. 2 One accusation, with a part of 
the answer to it, will serve as a specimen of the theology of the day : 

" 8 Accusation. That the saints have more varieties of righteousness 
than Christ, for Christ hath only a double righteousness, and the saints 
have a trebble. 

"Answer. Tis true that having treated about the freeness of Christs 
grace to sinners according to what was expressed in the point of Christs pur- 
pose towards the rebellious, my scope then was to treat also of the fulness 
of his grace to his saints, which I did dispatch by the only explaining of 
one word as tis in the original ( i ) righteousnesses in — , 45. 24, tis ren- 
dered truly righteousness in the margin of many Bibles : implying that 
Christ is not only very free but also very full of grace to his believing 
servants, in that he affords unto them not only a single righteousness, or 
a righteousness of immitation, for the resembling of righteous ones in 
respect of outward conversation, which was all the righteousness that the 
Pharisee had, or civil honest persons have for to shew, but comes short 
of qualifying for the Kingdom of Heaven — witness Christs words Mai. 
5,20 — nor meerly a double righteousness, or a righteousness of infu- 
sion, both which were all the righteousnesses that Adam in Paradise had, 
or the elect Angels in Heaven have, as the blessed angels have no more, 
so believing sinners have no less, witness Eph. 9. 20,, but a trebble 
righteousness or a righteousness of imputation, witness 2 cor. 5,21: 
Phil. 3. 10, which is more than Christ himself either hath or doth need 
to make himself righteous. Twas far from me to either to say or suppose 
that Christ Jesus doth give to others more than he hath to give, as twas 
both ingeniously and publickally reported in the presence of many hun- 
dreds of men. 

" 'Twas nor a solecism nor any absurdity to affirm that Christ Jesus hath 
more variety of righteousnesses for to make others righteous than he hath 

1 The church of Maiden censured Mr. Lynde for his testimony against 
Mr. Matthews. At a council held in Boston, March 4, 1651, a letter 
signed Edward Rawson, secretary, was addressed to the Maiden church, 
in which they were requested, before they proceeded so far as excommu- 
nication, to consult the neighbor churches. This was done, the letter 
says, " without any intention or desire in the least to infringe the liberty 
the Lord Jesus Christ hath purchased for his church." — Mass. Hist. Col., 
vol. xxviii. p. 325. 2 it is in Mass. Archives, Vol. Ecclesiastical, 


to make himself righteous : no more than it is to say that he hath more 
variety of graces, as restraining grace (or fear of men) or renewing grace 
(as repentance from dead works) to bestow on others for to make them 
gracious, than he hath in himself for to make himself gracious." 

This defence, certainly not free from " inconvenient " expres- 
sions, was unsatisfactory to the Court ; and a special commission 
was instituted to examine Mr. Matthews on doctrinal points. For 
consenting to be ordained, he was fined ten pounds, which he was 
ordered to pay within a month, provided he did not make " an 
humble acknowledgment of his sin ;" and for ordaining him, the 
Maiden church was summoned to answer at the next Court. 

The commission consisted of " Mr. Simon Broadstreet, Mr. 
Samuel Simonds, Captain William Hawthorne, Captain Edward 
Johnson, Mr. John Glover, Captain Eleazer Lusher, Captain 
Daniel Gookin, Mr. Richard Brown and Captain Humphrey Ather- 
ton," — gallant and able men, doubtless, but severely representa- 
tive of the intolerance of the times. The Court, however, pro- 
vided for an addition to it, by instructing the commission to call 
in " the reverend elders " in case of difficulty. 

Mr. Matthews was cited to appear on the 11th of June; and 
on the 15th, he favored this ecclesiastical tribunal o'f civilians and 
soldiers with the following confession : — 

" To ye Honored Committee of yeGenerall Court appointed to examine 
some doctrinall points delivered att Hull and since yt time at Maiden 
by M. M. 

Honored of God and of his people ; 

" Haveing given you an account of my sence and of my faith in ye con- 
clusions wch were accused before you, I thought good to acquaint you, 
yt, if any -among you (or others) should count that faith a fansie, and that 
sence to be non-sence, I desire yt God may forgive them : I doe, conceav- 
ing yt such doe not yet soe well know what they doe, as they shall know 

" Yet in case yt this should reach any satisfaction to such as are (yett) 
unsatisfied with my expressions for to know that I doe acknowledge yt there 
be sundrie defects in sundry points yt I have delivered, I doe hereby signifie 
yt through mercy I cannot but see and also ingenuously confesse yt some 
of my sayings are nor safe nor sound in the superlative degree : to wit : 
they are not most safe ; nor yett eyther sound or safe in a comparative 
degree ; for I easily yeald yt not onely wiser men probably would, but 
also I my self possiblie mouyht have made outi x's mynd and my owne 
meaning in termes more sound and more safe than I have done had I not 
been too much wanting both to his sacred majesty, whose unworthy mes- 
singer I was, and also to my hearers, and to my self, for wch I desire to 
be humbled, and of wch I desire to be healed by ye author of both. As I 

1 Christ's mind. 


doe not doubt but yt conscientious and charitable-hearted Christians (whose 
property and practise it is to put uppon doubtfull positions not ye worst 
construction but ye best) will discerne, as I doe, yt there is a degree of 
soundness in what I doe owne, though but a positive degree. 

" However it is and (I trust) for ever shall be, my care to be more circum- 
spect than I have hitherto been in avoyding all appearances yt way for 
ye time to come, yt soe I may ye better approve my self through ye grace 
of Christ and to ye Glory of God, such a workman as need not be 
ashamed. In ye interim I remayne amongst his unworthy servants 
ye most unworthy, and 

Your accused and condemned 
Boston this 13th of ye fellow-creature to command 

4 month, 1651. in ye things of Christ 

Marmaduke Matthewes. 

The hint which the ingenious preacher gave his stern tribunal, 
to act as charitable-hearted Christians, was lost upon them. In two 
days (June 17) the committee declared themselves "much unsa- 
tisfied " with the confession, finding " several particulars weak, un- 
safe and unsound, and not retracted by him ;" * and the marshal 
proceeded to collect the fine. But the " condemned" was a poor 
subject for fines : " he lived above the world, and depended wholly 
upon providence for the support of himself and family." 2 The 
officer could only find a library ; and the General Court, in Octo- 
ber, permitted the execution " to be respited until other goods 
appear besides books." 3 

Meantime Mr. Matthews appears to have retained the confidence 
of his congregation, or the majority of it." 4 It was his custom 

1 Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xxxi. p. 30. 

2 Dr. Calamy, Non-Conformist Memorial, vol. iii. p. 504. 

3 Colony Records. 

4 Even Johnson, (book iii. chapter 7,) than whom none treated heresy 
more sternly, seems loth to give up Matthews. Notwithstanding what 
had passed, he says, " he will not miss to mind him in the following 
meeter," — perhaps one of his most expressive verses. 

" Mathews ! thou must build gold and silver on 

That precious stone, Christ cannot trash indure, 
Unstable straw and stubble must be gone, 

When Christ by fire doth purge his building pure, 
In seemly and in modest terms do thou 

Christ's precious truths unto thy folk unfold, 
And mix not error with the truth, least thou 

Soon leave out sense to make the truth to hold : 
Compleating of Christs Churches is at hand, 

Mathews stand up and blow a certain sound, 
Warriours are wanting Babel to withstand, 

Christs truths maintain, 'twill bring the honors crown 'd." 


to make no visits but such as were properly ministerial, and to 
receive none but in a religious manner ; and ties thus formed were 
not to be weakened by fines. The female portion of his flock 
sent to the General Court, October 28, 1651, the following petition, 
— valuable as a record of the names, and christian spirit, of the 
early matrons of the town : — 

" To the Hon'd Court ; 

" The petition of many inhabitants of Maiden and Charlestown of 
Mistick side humbly sheweth : 

" That the Almighty God in great mercie to our souls as we trust, hath, 
after many prayers, endeavors, and long waiting, brought Mr. Matthews 
among us, and put him into the work of the ministry : By whose pious 
life and labors the Lord hath afforded us many saving convictions, direc- 
tions, reproofs and consolations, whose continuance in the service of 
Christ if it were the good pleasure of God, we much desire : and it is our 
humble request to this honourd Court, that you would please to pass 
by some personal and particular failings (which may as we humbly con- 
ceive be your glory and no grief of heart to you in time to come) and to 
permit him to employ those talents God hath furnished him withal. So 
shall we your humble petitioners with many others be bound to pray &c. 

28 — 8 — 51. 
Mrs. Sergeant, Sarah Bucknam. . Eliz. Mirrable. 

Joan Sprague. Thanklord Sheppie. Sarah Osbourn. 

Jane Learned. Fran. Cooke. An Hett. 

Elizabeth Carrington, Eliz. Knowker. Mary Pratt. 

Bridget Squire. Bridget Dexter. Eliz. Green. 

Mary Wayte. Lydia Greenland. Joan Chadwicke. 

Sarah Hills. Margaret Pemerton. Margret Green. 

An Bibble. Han. Whitemore. Helen Luddington. 

Eliz. Green. Eliz. Green. Susan Wellington. 

Wid. Blancher. Mary Rust. Joana Call. 

Eliz. Adams. Eliz. Grover. Rachel Attwood. 

Rebec Hills. Han. Barret. Marge Welding." 

At the same time, 1651, October 28, Mr. Matthews addressed 
another confession " to the honored Court," declaring that he 
was " in some measure sensible of his great insufficiency to de- 
clare the counsil of God unto his people ;" that he " was very 
apt to let fall some expressions that are weak and inconvenient ;" 
but that it was his desire "to avoid all appearances of evil therein 
for time to come as in all other respects whatsoever." x But the 
Court continued inexorable ; neither the petition nor the confes- 
sion procuring a remittance of the fine. 

Meantime the General Court, at a full meeting October 24, 
1651, arraigned the Maiden Church for its share of the sin in or- 

1 This document is printed in Mass. Hist. Col., vol. xxxi. pp. 31,32. 


daining Mr. Matthews. The defence of the church, dated Octo- 
ber 28, is a manly and well prepared document. It argues, first, 
that the offensive expressions delivered at Maiden were not so 
much before ordination as after, and " for the business of Hull," 
Mr. Matthews had undergone his punishment and " stood clear in 
law:" second, that in case they had "swerved from any rule of 
Christ" they should have been proceeded with " in a church way," 
for they " both owned and honored church communion ;" third, that 
they had invited two churches, before ordination, to pursue this 
course, and were ready to reply to any charges of " sin " they 
had committed : fourth, they begged the Court to consider what 
passed between them and the magistrates, and " that no return was 
made only by Mr. Nowell : " fifth, that it was with grief of heart 
they seemed " to wave or undervalue " the " advice of any magis- 
trate or church, but considering the liberty of the churches allow- 
ed by law to choose their own officers and apprehending him (Mr. 
Matthews) to be both pious, able and orthodox, as the law provides, 
we proceeded." The gist of the document, however, is contained 
in the last specification, — a part of which reads as follows : — 

" Our plea is, that we know no law of Christ or the country, that binds 
any church of Christ not to ordain their own officers without advice of 
magistrates and churches. We freely acknowlege ourselves engaged to 
any that in love afford any advice unto us, but we conceive a church is 
not bound to such advice farther than God commends it to their under- 
standing and conscience. And if a church act contrary to such advice, 
we see not how, or by what rule, they are bound to take offence against 
a church of Christ in that respect, — namely, for not attending that advice, 
or that a church of Christ so doing should be concluded offenders in any 
court of justice, and so plead our laws allow every church free liberty 
of all the ordinances of God according to the rule of the scripture ; and in 
particular, free liberty of selection and ordination of all their officers, 
from time to time, provided theybe pious, able and orthodox. And that 
no injunction shall be put upon any church officer or member, in point of 
doctrine or discipline, whether for substance or circumstance, besides the 
Institutes of the Lord." 

This remarkable plea did not prove a valid one with the 
Court. In three days, October 31, the church received the fol- 
lowing sentence : — 

" Ordered, that the members of the Church of Maiden shall be fined 
for their offences the sum of fifty pounds, which shall not extend to any 
person that hath given this Court satisfaction, and that consented not to 
Mr. Matthews' ordination. And it is further ordered, that the said fifty 
pounds shall be levied by execution on the estates of Mr. Joseph Hills, 
Edward Carrington and John Wait, who are hereby impowered to make 
proportion of the said sum on the rest of the members of the church, ex- 
cept before excepted." 


Subsequently, the church was charged, "speedily to consider 
the errors Mr. Matthews stands charged with in Court." An 
ecclesiastical council, composed of messengers of the churches of 
Charlestown, Cambridge, Lynn and Roxbury, was gathered, 
which considered the whole case and reported to the Court, 
May 26, 1652. On this day, in answer to petitions, the Court 
declared it saw no cause to remit the church's or the pastor's 
fine, " the country being put to so great trouble, charge and ex- 
penses in the hearing of the cause." On the 19th of October, 
however, the fine of Mr. Matthews was remitted in full, and ten 
pounds of that of the church. 

But the General Court, firmly established its power over the 

churches : it aimed to preserve them as well from incompetent 

as from heretical pastors. In 1653 it prohibited any to preach or 

prophecy without the consent of neighbor churches or the county 

court. This called forth a letter of remonstrance from the Salem 

church, in which the first reason against this law is this : — 

" First, because it intrencheth upon the liberties of the several churches, 
who have power (as is confessed by all the orthodox) to choose and set 
up over them, whom they please for their edification and comfort without 
depending on any other power and if a breach be once made into these 
liberties, we know not how far it may proceed in time, there being such 
a leading example as this." 1 

But this was of no avail. The law was sustained ; and churches 
if in the view of the Court schismatical, or acting in a corrupt 
way, or " contrary to the rule of the word," fared no better than 
individuals ; the civil magistrate might put forth his coercive power 
as the case required. 2 

In a short time, individuals of the majority submitted to the 
Court. Several, 3 in May, 1655, " humbly acknowledged the 
offence they gave to the Court and several churches about ordain- 
ing Mr. Matthews," and prayed for a release from £ 13. 6s. 8d., 
the remainder of their fine. Edward Carrington, one of the three 
made responsible for the whole fine followed, October 28, 1658, 
their example. He states that the Lord had convinced him 
of the evil of being of the majority ; but that it was not in his 

1 Felt has preserved the whole of this excellent letter in his Annals of 
Salem, p. 533. See also Woburn Memorial in Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xxxi. 

2 Cambridge Platform, chap. xi. 9. 

3 Their names were, Joseph Hills, Abram Hill, John Waite, Jno. 
Sprague, Ralph Shepherd, John Upham, James Greene and Thomas Call. 


power to collect fines of " his poor, unable and absent brethren ;" 
and he prays that some meet person may be appointed to receive 
these fines, or that they be remitted, or that he may be allowed to 
pay his proportion, and be released from the rest. The magistrates 
voted to accept his part of the fine, and to give the remainder '■■ to 
the town for a town stock ; " but the deputies would not consent 
to it." l The General Court finally referred the whole subject of 
abating the fines to the Middlesex County Court ; which, June 19, 
1660, ordered the majority of the church to " give a clear account 
of all their proceedings" to a commission of three, Richard 
Sprague, Edwin Oakes and Ephraim Child ; who were instructed 
to report at the next Court. This does not appear to have been 
done : but in 1662 the same Court abated ten pounds of the fine 
of Edward Carrington. 

Mr. Matthews soon returned to England, where he continued 
to preach, in Swansey, in a small chapel, by the connivance of the 
magistrates. " He had," writes Dr. Calamy, " no estate, but 
subsisted by the piety of his children, of whom two or three were 
sober conformists, and by the kindness of relatives and friends, 
which made him sometimes pleasantly say ; " he was comforta- 
bly maintained by the children of God, his own children, and the 
children of the world." "He lived to a good old age, and con- 
tinued useful to the last. He died about 1683." 2 

During nearly thirty years, there are but few allusions on the 
records to Maiden. Mr. Matthews was succeeded, as early as 
1654, by Rev. Michael Wigglesworth, a distinguished divine and 
physician; who for nearly half a century, until 1705, was the regu- 
lar pastor of the church. He was of feeble constitution, and for 
twenty years unable to discharge the duties of his office. Yet the 
people generously supplied him with aid. Benjamin Bunker, 3 
from 1663 to 1669, Benjamin Blackman in 1679, Thomas Chee- 
ver and Mr. Upham, preached at Maiden. In 1662 the church 

i In the proceedings in this, from first to last, there was far from una- 
nimity. In the vote of censure (May 1651) fifteen of the deputies record- 
ed their names as " contradicentes ;" and in October of the same year, 
ten, — among the latter Richard Bellingham the deputy governor,. 

2 Non-Conformist Memorial, vol. iii. p. 11. 

3 Benjamin Bunker was the son of George Bunker, of this town, (see 
p. 83,) a graduate of Harvard College in 1658. He settled at Maiden, 
1663, December 9, and died February 2, 1670. It was his father, George, 
that signed the remonstrance in Mr. Wheelright's favor and was disarmed. 
The reader is requested to make the correction on pp. 73,74. 



had so far regained the good opinion of the Court as to ob- 
tain a grant of one thousand acres of land which was laid 
out at Worcester. The early records of Maiden are lost. 
There are no church records until Dr. Thatcher's ministry, and 
no town records before 1678, — when the by-laws, curious and 
quaint though they are, indicate a thriving community, striving to 
maintain the blessings of health and order. 1 


Ecclesiastical History — 1640 to 1650. — Thomas Allen. — Theological 
Controversies. — Samuel Gorton. — The Baptists. — The Cambridge 
Platform. — Death of Thomas Allen. 

Rev. Zechariah Symmes remained sole pastor of the church but 
a few months. In the year Harvard died, Thomas Allen arrived 
in Boston. He was the son of John Allen, a dyer of Norwich, 
born in 1608, and educated at Caius College, Cambridge, where he 
took the degree of Master of Arts in 1631. He was minister of 
St. Edmunds, of the city of Norwich, where about 1636, he was 
silenced by Bishop Wren, for refusing to read the Book of Sports 
and conform to other innovations ; and hence emigrated to this 
country. In 1639, January 11, he was admitted a member of 
the church of Boston, in the records of which he is called " a 
student." On the succeeding June 9th, at his own desire and 
that of the Charlestown church, he was dismissed from Boston ; 
admitted to this church December 22, and probably soon after 
became its teacher. 

During the eleven years of the joint ministry of Messrs. Symmes 
and Allen, the churches were occupied with interesting and impor- 
tant questions, that supplied the place, though in a moderate degree, 
of the Antinomian strife. There was the controversy respecting 
Gorton ; the synod that established the Cambridge Platform ; the 
commencement of the Baptist controversy, and of the proceedings 

l Wright's Historical Discourse on Maiden. Mr. Wright furnishes 
no facts about Matthews, and does not mention his name. 


against the Maiden church and minister. The Charlestown 
records of this date, afford no information of the action of this 
church upon these subjects. They only contain the record of one 
hundred and twenty-three persons admitted from 1639 to 1651, 
with an imperfect list of the baptisms. 1 

Samuel Gorton was imprisoned in this town on account of his 
opinions. He was, in the language of the time, a minister of 
" very heretical principles, a prodigious minter of exorbitant 
novelties, even the very dregs of familism ;" 2 in the judgment of 
to-day, " a wild but benevolent enthusiast, who used to say, Hea- 
ven was not a place, there was no Heaven but in the hearts of 
good men, no hell but in the mind." 3 The magistrates judged 
him worthy of death, — the deputies of the lighter penalty of im- 
prisonment, — " to be kept at work and to wear such bolts and 
irons as might hinder his escape." In 1644, March 7, he was 
released on the condition that he should leave the Colony in four- 
teen days. Perhaps this notice will be a sufficient introduction 
to the following extract : — 

" When this order of the Court was presented to Samuel Gorton, by 
the constable of Charlestown, bringing a smith with him, to rile off his 
bolts, he told the constable he was not willing to part with his irons on 
these terms, but expected fairer terms of release, than were therein ex- 
pressed, desiring him to go to Master Nowell, who lived in that town, and 
declare so much unto him. In short time the constable returned, bring- 
ing divers of the chief men in the town with him, and commanded the 
smith to fall to work to file off his bolts, who did accordingly, and so took 
them from him, leaving the said Gorton either to walk abroad, on such 
conditions, or else stay at his peril." 4 

The increase of the Baptists caused great alarm in the colony. 

They were treated with double injustice by our fathers ; who first 

associated them with the savage reformers of Munster ; and then 

inflicted upon them excommunication, fines, imprisonment and 

banishment. The colony law of 1644 reads as follows : — 

"If any person within this jurisdiction shall either openly condemn or 
oppose the baptism of infants, or go about secretly to seduce others from 
the approbation or use thereof, or shall purposely depart the congregation 
at the ministration of the ordinance, or, &c, and shall appear to the Court 
willfully and obstinately to continue therein after due time and means of 
conviction, every such person shall be sentenced to banishment." 5 

1 The inquirer will find a valuable catalogue of the admissions into the 
church from 1632 to 1787 in Rev. W. I. Budington's History of the First 
Church of Charlestown. 

2 Hubbard, p. 402. 3 Bancroft's Hist., vol. i. p. 419. 

4 Simplicity's Defence against Seven Headed Policy, p. 75. 

5 Savage's Winthrop, vol. ii. p. 175. 


Persons were fined for reading Anabaptist books. Probably 

for offences of this nature Stephen Fosdick, of this town, was 

fined twenty pounds; and, May 7, 1643, was excommunicated 1 

from the church. In 1647 he petitioned the Court, that as his 

house, burnt while in the sheriff's hands, was worth fifteen pounds, 

he might be released by paying the remaining five pounds. 2 

A few years later, (1664,) on making an acknowledgment and 

confession, the church granted him absolution. The record of 

this is in the following words : 

" The covenant of the church being (for the summe of it) a solemn 
promise or engagement to walk with God , and with his people according 
to the word of God, I do now heartily approve of it, and close with it, 
and am sorry that I have at any time spoken against it : Having neglect- 
ed likewise to hear the church in their dealings with me for my offence, 
I do unfeignedly repent thereof, and desire God and his people to forgive 

"This was read to the church, accepted by all as satisfactory ; he was 
(the brethren consenting) received to that state of communion which he 
had before his excommunication ; and by the sentence of the Eldership 
declared to be soe restored." 3 

A petition, praying the Court to abrogate the laws in relation 
to Anabaptists and foreigners, has on it the name of Robert 
Sedgwick and others, of this town ; the Court declared, in 
reply, that these laws "should not be altered or explained at 
all ; " and in 1646, a counter petition, prayed for their enforcement. 

The other exciting religious topic of this period was the synod 
that closed its labors in 1648. "It went on," Winthrop writes, 
" comfortably, and intended only the framing of a confession of 
faith, &c, and a form of church discipline." This was the cele- 
brated Cambridge Platform, which continued, in the main, to be 
the rule of the ecclesiastical polity of Massachusetts, until the 
adoption of the constitution of 1780 ; " and is still of some influence 
in the construction of difficult topics." 4 

The ministry of Mr. Allen in this country closed in 1651, when 
he returned to England. In January, 1657, he was chosen pastor 
of the Congregational Church in Norwich, where he continued 
until he died, September 21, 1673, aged sixty-five years. He 
was greatly beloved, and is characterized as " an able, practical 

i Church Records. ~ Mass. Archives. 

3 Church Records. 4 Savage's Winthrop, vol. ii. p. 330. 



Mr. Allen was the author of several works, the titles of these 
are as follows : — An Invitation to Thirsty Sinners to come to 
their Saviour : The way of the Spirit in bringing Souls to Christ : 
The Glory of Christ set forth, with the Necessity of Faith ; in 
several sermons. A Chain of Scripture Chronology, from the 
Creation to the Death of Christ, in seven periods, — which has 
been much commended. 1 A letter written by him, relating to the 
preaching of the gospel among the Indians, may be found in Mas- 
sachusetts Historical Collections, vol. xxxiv. p. 194. 2 

1 Non-Conformist Memorial, vol. iii. p. 11. 

2 Rev. Thomas Allen, (see p. 75,) probably married the widow of 
John Harvard. They had in this country, 1, Mary, born January 3l, 
1640 : 2, Sarah, born August 8, 1641, buried April 21, 1642 ; 3, Elizabeth, 
born and died, 1642 : 4, Mercy, born and died, 1646, They had also a 

BUILT 1833. 



Biographical Sketches. — Increase Nowell. — Robert Sedgwick. — 
Thomas Graves. — Francis Willoughby Richard Russell. 

Increase Nowell was the most distinguished of those who re- 
mained in town on the dispersion of Winthrop's company. He was 
relative of Alexander Nowell, dean of St. Paul's, in Elizabeth's 
reign ; a Patentee ; elected an assistant of the Massachusetts Com- 
pany in England, October 20, 1629 ; came over in the Arbella 
with Winthrop ; and on the organization of the first church, was 
chosen ruling elder. But being also an assistant, the question 
arose whether a magistrate ought to be a ruling elder 1 It was 
submitted to the Salem and Plymouth churches, which gave the 
opinion, " that a ruler in the church ought not to be a ruler in 
the state at the same time." Mr. Nowell, accordingly, relinquish- 
ed the office of elder. 

He held the office of magistrate until his death. But to write 
in full his biography would be, in fact, to write a large part of the 
civil and ecclesiastical history of his time, for his name appears in 
connection with much of it. He was secretary of the colony 
many years, and one of the commission for military affairs in 1634. 
He joined with Endicott, Dudley, and others, in 1649, in the asso- 
ciation against wearing long hair. 

son, Thomas. His wife, Anne, was living in 1651, as she, this year, 
deeded land with him. She died soon after, and Mr. Allen married, for 
his second wife, the widow of Robert Sedgwick ; they had no children. 

Harvard had a large property for those days, in this town, — one half 
of which fell, probably, to his widow. I have met with only one 
allusion to a sale of land by her, and that in 1638, to Thomas Graves. 
Thomas Allen was also a large land owner, having, among other proper- 
ty, five hundred acres granted to him, "in regard to Mr. Harvard's gift." 
Among the sales of property is one, in 1659, of a part of the estate on which 
" his mansion house " stood. It had an orchard, and was bounded north 
on "the narrow lane up Mill-hill." The purchaser was Thomas 
Shephard. In 1676 Gravel-lane is described as bounded on Mr. 
Shephard's land, and this, it is hence inferred, was Harvard's house, 
standing in 1697, and owned by Mrs. Shephard. It is the estate on 
which Washington Hall stands. 


Mr. Nowell was one of the chief founders of the town. He was 
often on important committees, a short time town clerk, and for 
nineteen years a selectman, — from 1635, with the exception of 
1653, to the year of his death. He devoted his life to the public 
service, and died poor. The situation of his family, just before 
his death, elicited the following order of October 24, 1655. " It 
is desired that the deputies of each town commend the condition 
of Mr. NowelPs family to their several towns in reference to some 
meet recompense for the said Mr. Nowell's service by way of rate 
or otherwise, bringing their returns to the next Court of election." 
This vote, at least, cheered the closing days of this " honored 
magistrate." He died November 1, 1655. The next year, Octo- 
ber 14, 1656, the General Court, remembering Mr. Nowell's 
" long service to this Commonwealth in the place not only of a 
magistrate but secretary also, for which he had but little and slen- 
der recompense," granted Mrs. Nowell and her son Samuel, two 
thousand acres of land. The territory now part of Worcester, 
was once owned by this family. 

Increase Nowell was a rigid Puritan, and enjoyed, in an eminent 
degree, the respect and affection of his contemporaries. One 
terms him, " one of the men of renown that settled Massachu- 
setts : " another, " honored and upright-hearted : " a third, " emi- 
nent for his piety and learning." The long confidence of his 
townsmen, and the votes of the colony, are solid testimonials of 
the value of his services. It is to be regretted that his piety was 
accompanied with a severe temper, and his public virtue with a 
stern intolerance. 

Mr. Nowell married Parnel Coitmore, the daughter of Catharine 
Coitmore. She survived him ; and the town, in 1658, voted that 
she " should be freed from paying town rates hence forwards." 
She died March 25, 1687, aged eighty-four. 1 

Robert Sedgwick was one of the most distinguished men of his 
time. The family is supposed to have sprung from the northern 
counties of England. Johnson furnishes the earliest notice of 

i Increase and Parnel Nowell had eight children, of whom three died 
in infancy, namely, Increase, Abigail and Eliezur. The others were : — 

1, Samuel, born November 12, 1634, graduated at Harvard College 
in 1653, a preacher, often engaged in the public service, treasurer of the 
College, and an assistant in 1680. He married widow Mary Usher, who 
died in this town August 14, 1683. He died in London, September, 1688. 


Mr. Sedgwick, writing that he " was nursed up in London's ar- 
tillery garden," and "was stout and active in all feats of war." He 
was admitted an inhabitant of this town June 3, 1636 ; a freeman 
in 1637, and this year chosen representative, and several times 
afterwards. He was also selectman, and often engaged in town 
business. He was, probably, a merchant, and on an occasion of 
selling his goods too high, was admonished (1639) by the Court 
to take heed of oppression. He was the captain (1636) of the first 
"trained band" of this town, the first major (1644) of the Middle- 
sex regiment, and elected major general May 26, 1652. In 1641, 
'45, and '48, he commanded the Ancient and Honorable Artillery 
Company, and in 1641 the Castle. In 1645, he had a commission 
to take care of the fortifications of the town, and to keep it and the 
harbor "from all hostile and mutinous attempts or insurrections." 
He was, among other duties, directed to have always in readiness, 
" a barrel of powder for every six pieces of ordnance, with twelve 
shot and five pound of match, if any ships in the harbor shall quar- 
rel and shoot one another, whereby the people, or houses may be 

Previous to July 1, 1654, General Sedgwick had visited Eng- 
land, and engaged in the service of Cromwell, as commander of a 
contemplated expedition against the Dutch at New-York. In a 
letter to the Protector, of this date, Sedgwick informed him of his 
arrival here, and of his proceedings ; namely, that in fourteen days 
he had victualled his ships, and in six more was ready with nine 

2, Mehitable, born February 2, 1638, married William Hilton Sep- 
tember 16, 1659. Their children were, Nowell, born May 4, 1663 ; 
Edward, born March 3, 1666 ; John, baptised May 24, 1668 ; Richard, 
born September 13, 1670 ; and Charles, born April 19, 1673. William 
Hilton died September 7, 1675, and his widow married, October 29, 1684, 
deacon John Cutler, who died September 12, 1694. She died, Sept. 1711. 

3, Increase, born May 23, 1640, (Boston Records,) — a seaman. 

4, Mary, born May 26, 1643, married August 14, 1666 Isaac Wins- 
low, whose father, John, was a brother of Edward, of Plymouth, and 
whose mother, Mary, was the first female who landed from the Mayflower 
in 1620. Their children were : — Parnel, born November 14, 1667, mar- 
ried Richard Foster, May 4, 1686 ; Isaac, born and died in 1670 ; Mr. 
Winslow died, August 14, 1670, at Port Royal, Jamaica ; his widow 
married, September 16, 1674, John Long, who died July 20, 1683. 
Their children were Isaac, born 1675, died 1680; Catharine, married 
William Welstead May 24, 1694 ; Samuel died March 18, 1730 ; and 
Mary married Simon Bradstreet ; Mary Long died about 1729. 

5, Alexander, graduated at Harvard in 1661, the author of several 
Almanacks, and died in 1672. 


hundred foot and a company of horse, to act against the enemy, 
when, June 1, news of peace arrived; and that commissioners, 
at a meeting in Charlestown, June 17, had determined to employ 
the force against the French forts in Nova Scotia. Sedgwick 
sailed, July 4, 1654, from Boston, with a fleet consisting of the 
Augustine, Church, Hope, and a ketch ; arrived at St. Johns, a 
strong fort, on the 14th ; captured it on the 17th ; then took Port 
Royal and another French fort, and sailed for Piscataqua. 

Though the General Court questioned General Sedgwick's 
authority for doing this, yet such vigorous action was so acceptable 
to Cromwell, that the next year he was appointed to an important 
service in the West Indies. Jamaica had been captured ; and 
General Sedgwick was sent, with a fleet under his orders, with 
reinforcements for the army under General Venables. He sailed 
from Plymouth July 11, 1655; and arrived at Barbadoes, August 
27, when he learned that Venables had met with a repulse, losing 
four hundred men. A few extracts from Sedgwick's letters show 
the state of his feelings. Writing to Cromwell, September 1, 
1655, he says : — 

" I must confess, I cannot but bring my own spirit to stand and con- 
sider what I may understand of the mind and will of God, and what he 
speaks in so loud a voice as this. I must conclude this, that God is 
righteous in his proceedings, to curb and bring low the pride of the sons 
of men." 

The same letter concludes in the following manner : — 

"Tam resolved to attend my business with as much wisdom and vigor 
as God shall assist me with. I thank God, my heart in some measure 
beareth me witness, that it is the glory of God, that I intended in this em- 
ployment, and I hope he will yet own us. Our condition, I am confident, 
is often remembered by you in your approaches to Heaven, and I hope will 
yet be. Religion and God was pretended, and I question not intended, 
and I know must now be attended, if we prosper. Let your highness be 
pleased to pardon my boldness and prolixity. I thank God my prayers 
are for you, that the God of wisdom and grace may yet own you in your 
so many weighty affairs, that you may be a blessing to your generation, 
and serviceable to Christ, and to his people. 


I am willing to be, and wish I 

Your Lordships humble Servant, 

Robert Sedgwick." 
General Sedgwick's letters, 1 long, able, and interesting, present 

1 In Thurloe's State Papers. 


a vivid view of the difficulties he had to encounter. " The truth 
is," he writes the Protector, November 5, 1655, " God is angry, 
and the plague is begun, and we have none to stand in the gap." 
" Sir, you cannot conceive us so sad as we are, broken and scat- 
tered, God rending us in twain, a senseless hearted people, not 
affected with his dealing towards us." There was the evil of a 
divided command. A council for managing the affairs of the 
island was formed, of which Sedgwick, appointed commissioner 
by Cromwell, was one, and General Fortesque was president. The 
latter soon fell a victim to the climate. At this time General 
Sedgwick made two requests to the Protector : — 

" One is, if God spare me life, that your highness would be pleased to 
permit me to come to England. But I am not very solicitous in that, 
sometimes thinking that another place will be my portion, before I may 
hear again from your highness. 

" The other petition is : I left behind me a dear and religious wife, 
who through grace hath much of the fear and knowledge of God in her. 
I have also five children, to me dear and precious. I would only by this, 
that your highness would cast one thought towards them ; that whatever 
hazard or hardship I may go through, yet my relations may not be for- 
gotten. 1 only expect, what your highness was pleased to promise me, 
that she may not be troubled in obtaining it in such seasons, as may tend 
to her comfort." 

General Sedgwick renews the latter request, — in relation to 
his pay, — to Cromwell's secretary, Thurloe, in letters dated 
November 7, and November 12, 1655; remarking, "the truth is, 
my heart and spirit are in a confusion, and (1) think sometimes it 
may finish my few days I have here to be." His presentiment 
proved true. So far from granting his request to return, the Pro- 
tector sent him a commission to command the army. " He 
never enjoyed himself," writes one of his officers, " after he re- 
ceived his commission," " but as was apparent to all men, from 
that time lost much of freedom and cheerfulness." He died 
May 24, 1656. 

Charlestown has cause to remember the public spirit of General 
Sedgwick. He took a warm interest in its welfare ; and either as 
selectman, representative, or a member of an important committee, 
was constantly in its service. He was an enterprising merchant, 
as we find him building wharves on the shore east of the old ferry- 
ways, carrying on a brewing establishment, building the old Tide 
Mills, and interested in the Iron Works at Lynn. He was zealous 
in disciplining his company, — freely spending time and money, 


Johnson says, for this purpose. The train band manifested their 
feelings towards him by the grant, somewhat irregularly, of a 
piece of land, which the town " to gratify the major " continued. 
His residence was in the market-place, now the square, near the 
site of the Bunker Hill Bank. 

Robert Sedgwick was a representative of the liberal Puritans of 
early New-England. Religion was in all his thoughts, and yet he 
openly opposed the prevailing intolerance. His regard for educa- 
tion is seen in his gifts to the College. He was "a very brave, 
zealous and pious man," l " beloved and esteemed by all." 2 

Thomas Graves, the ancestor of the distinguished family of this 
name, was born June 6, 1605, in Ratcliff, England, and baptised 
June 16, at Stepney. 3 In 1629 he is mentioned by Higginson in 
terms of commendation, 4 and was mate of the Talbot, — the year 
that the engineer of the same name came oyer. In 1630, he was 
made freeman ; in 1632 was master of the Whale; in 1633, of the 
Elizabeth Bonadventure ; in 1635, of the James; 5 in 1643, of 
the Trial, the first ship built in Boston, and which had been com- 
manded by Thomas Coitmore. Mr. Graves continued to follow 
the sea. During the protectorship of Oliver Cromwell, and while 
on a mercantile voyage, he met a Dutch privateer in the English 
Channel ; and though in a merchantman, he engaged with her, 
and captured her. As a reward for his bravery, the owners of the 
vessel presented him with a silver cup.; and Cromwell conferred 
on him the command of a ship of war. 6 In the inveutory of his 

i Carlyla. 

2 Aylesbury, his secretary, June 25, 1656, in Thurloe, vol. iv. p. 604. 
" He was truly a religious man, and of the most innocent conversation I 
ever accompanied." 

General Sedgwick names five children living in the year of his death. 
Of these, — 1, Samuel, baptised 1639, was in 1668 a woolen draper of 
London. 2, Hannah, baptised 1641. 3, William, married Elizabeth, 
daughter of Rev. Samuel Stone, first minister of Hartford, Connecticut, 
and died in 1674. He had a son Samuel from whom the distinguished 
family of the Sedgwicks is descended. 4, Robert, member of artillery 
in 1674, whose widow died in 1683. 5, I know nothing of the fifth child. 

3 MSS. in possession of his descendants. I have heen informed that the 
date of his birth and baptism may be relied on ; the MSS. make the engi- 
neer and admiral identical. -^See p. 26. 

4 Hutchinson's Coll., p. 48. 

5 Winthrop's Hist., vol. i. pp. 77. 161. He came over " every year 
for these seven years." 6 MSS. Papers. 


estate he is called " Rear-Admiral ; " he must have received this 
distinction, also, from the Protector. 

The name of Thomas Graves 1 is not found on the Town Re- 
cords until 1638 ; and of course, he had no share in any divisions 
of land previous to this time. In 1639, with his wife Catharine, 
he was admitted to the church of this town ; and after this date, 
until his death, his name is constantly found on committees, and 
in divisions of land : and the names of his children, among the list 
of baptisms in the Church Records. He died July 31, 1653. 
Winthrop commends him as " an able and godly man." His will 
contains his autograph. The signature of the engineer is also 
affixed to the contract (see p. 16) he made with the company in 
1629. Fac-similes of the two, — 




indicate the hand-writing of two individuals. The admiral was 
undoubtedly the ancestor of the family of this name in this town. 2 

1 The compiler of the account of the settlement of the town appears 
not to have known the whole name of the engineer (see p. 20) but left a 
space for the name of "Thomas." He always writes out the name of 
the admiral in full ; and after 1640, with the " Mr." before it. In 1633 
the General Court (see p. 52) ordered the neck of land " where Mr. 
Graves dwelleth" to belong to Newtown, — since Cambridge. This neck 
was East Cambridge ; and it is probable that the " Mr. Graves" was 
the engineer. 

2 Thomas Graves married Catharine Coitmore, the daughter of widow 
Coitmore, noticed on page 86. He names in his will, sons John, Thomas, 
Nathaniel and Joseph : and daughters, Rebecca, Elizabeth and Susanna. 
Of these : 

1, John, probably lived in England, as a house at Ham, near London, 
is bequeathed to him. 

2, Thomas, born in 1638 at this town, married May 16, 1677, Elizabeth 
the widow of Dr. John Chickering, who died July 22, 1679. He then 


Francis Willoughby, an eminent citizen, was the son of Colonel 
William Willoughby and his wife Elizabeth, of Portsmouth, county 
of Hampshire, England. He was admitted an inhabitant of 
this town, August 22, 1638 ; and from 1640 to the time of his 
death, was almost constantly engaged in the public service. He 
was first chosen selectman in 1640, and served seven years on this 
board ; was representative 1649 and '50 ; elected an assistant in 
1650, '51, '54, and was Deputy Governor from 1665 to the day of 
his death. He was, also, entrusted with an agency in England, 
as appears from the vote of the Court, October 15, 1669, granting 
him one thousand acres of land : — 

" The Court considering that our honored Deputy Governor, Francis 
Willoughby, Esq. hath yet had no acknowledgment of the country 's respect 
to him by grant of lands or otherwise, as has been shown to some others 
that have not done that public service which he hath done for this place 
as well in England as here, do therefore grant him one thousand acres of 
land to be laid out in any place that may not prejudice a plantation." l 

Mr. Willoughby was a merchant, and a successful one. He 
built wharves above and below the old Ferry-ways, where he 
owned a large property. He had a part of this granted to him in 
1649, when a road was laid out to the landing " so that boats 
might go to low water mark ; " he " agreeing to build a wharf and 
stairs for passengers and maintain them." In 1663 he resigned 
this land adjoining the ferry. He built (1641) a ship directly on 
the Warren Bridge avenue. He lived near the square, between 
Harvard-street and Bow-street, on the estate on which the house 

married, May 15, 1682, Sarah, the widow of Dr. Samuel Alcock. Their 
children were : Thomas, Catharine, John, Nathaniel, Susanna, Joseph. 
Hon. Thomas Graves, distinguished as a physician and judge, died May 
30, 1697. His widow married Colonel John Phillips of this town and 
died March 1, 1731, aged eighty-seven. 

3, Nathaniel, baptised 1639, a mariner, married August 24, 1664, 
Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Russell. Their children were Nathaniel, 
Maud and Elizabeth. He died February 12, 1679. 

4, Joseph, born April 13, 1645, married, Jan. 15. 1666, Elizabeth 
Maynard, and had, Samuel, born 1667, Richard, born 1672, John, born 
1674. He married a second time — Mary, and had Mary, Ebenezer and 
perhaps others. 

5, Susanna, born July 8, 1643, married Zechariah Symmes (minister 
of Bradford) November 18, 1669. Their children were, Susanna, Sarah, 
Zechariah, Catharine, Thomas, William and Rebecca. Susanna died 
July 23, 1681 : her husband Zechariah, March 22, 1718. 

6, Of Rebecca, I know nothing. 

1 Savage's Winthrop, vol. ii. p. 321. 


stands that was, a few years since, occupied by Governor Everett. 

He died April 4, 1671. 

Hutchinson x has this short, but honorable characteristic of him : 

" He was a great opposer of the persecutions against the Baptists." 

He is mentioned, in warm terms of affection, by his contemporaries. 

Two significant memorials 2 of him exist. One is a letter dated 

May 28, 1670, when he was confined to his house, and addressed 

to his associates in the government. After dwelling on the rumors 

that came to him of disunion in the councils, he says : — 

"I do earnestly beseech you that you study and contrive some way 
before you break up the Court, to adjourn with the demonstration of 
onenes and affection, that it may appear you all scope at the good of the 
country. And that you will endeavor to have as good thoughts one of 
another as possibly you can ; retaining the interest of the name of God 
among us : Let it not be published to the world that the Government of 
New-England is broken, and that your animosities are such that it is im- 
possible for you to agree in any thing that may tend to the saving the 
whole. Desiring a good construction may be put upon my broken hints ; 
and that you will believe that my scope is publick interest : Praying and 
beseeching the Lord to be with you in your councells and determinations, 
yt his name may be gloryfied in all your transactions, with my service 
heartily endorsed to your interest." 3 

The other memorial is the fragment of a speech made in 1666, 
on one of the most interesting events in the history of New- 
England. It was delivered in the controversy (which began in 
1662) connected with the preservation of the Charter Privileges ; 
and was against sanctioning an appeal to the king, or his commis- 
sioners. A royal mandate (1666) summoned the General Court 
to send persons to England, to answer the complaints made against 
the colony ; the Court refused to comply with the order. The 
following is a part of the debate in the council ■; 

" Bradstreet. I grant legal process in a course of law reaches us not in 
an ordinary course, yet I think his prerogative gives him power to com- 
mand our appearance, which before God and men we are to obey." 

"Dudley. The king's commands pass anywhere ; Ireland, Calais, &c, 

1 Hist. Mass., vol. i. p. 246. 

2 Governor Willoughby left MSS. which (see p. 4) were in the hands of 
Prince. There is a journal, supposed to have been written by him, now 
in the archives of the Antiquarian Society of Worcester. It is in a dif- 
ficult cypher, which I have, in vain, tried to read. Rev. W. I. Buddington 
says of it: "It is entitled 'A Continuation of my Daily Observation,' 
and comprises a period of time from 1 . 9 mo. 1650, to 28 . 10 mo. 1051. 
It was certainly written in Charlestown, for on the first page is a brief ac- 
count, not written in cypher, of a fire, which consumed eleven or twelve 
houses, 21 . 9. 1650, p. 208." 3 Mass. Archives, p. 203. 


although ordinary process from judges and officers pass not. No doubt 
but. you may have a trial at law, when you come in England, if you desire 
it, and you may insist upon it and claim it." 

" Willoughby. Whether God doth not call us to argue one way, as 
well as another ; whether Calais, Dunkirk, — have not been governed by 
commission, and if this be allowed, how easily may the king in one year 
undo all that he hath done : and we must as well consider God's displea- 
sure as the king's, the interest of ourselves and God's things, as his 
majesties prerogative ; for our liberties are of concernment, and to be 
regarded as to the preservation ; for if the king may send for me now, 
and another to-morrow, we are a miserable people." 3 

It is to such far-sighted men as Willoughby, that New-Eng- 
land owes its liberties. From this period, — and the decision 
of this question, — Judge Minot 2 dates the origin of the contro- 
versy between the patriots and prerogative men, scarcely inter- 
mitted, and never ended until the separation of the colonies from 
the mother country. 

Winthrop relates an incident that happened in London. Dr. 
Child, who had been harshly treated by the General Court, met 
Mr. Willoughby at the Exchange ; and in conversation about 
New-England, " railed against the people, saying they were a 
company of rogues and knaves." Mr. Willoughby replied, "that 
he who spake so, &c, was a knave; " whereupon the Doctor gave 
him a box on the ear. Mr. Willoughby arrested his assailant; 
who, through friends, made atonement. Dr. Child was ordered to 
" give five pounds to the poor of New-England (for Mr. Willoughby 
would have nothing of him) and to give Mr. Willoughby open satis- 
faction in the full Exchange ; " and to promise in writing that he 
never would speak evil of New-England again, nor cause the coun- 
try trouble. 3 

Governor Willoughby left a large estate, — valued at .£4050. 5. 4. 
of which ,£600 were in money and plate. He gave three hundred 
acres of land for the school of this town ; and five pounds to 
Thomas, son of the celebrated Ezekial Cheever, schoolmaster, 
" provided he be brought up to learning in the College." He 
names this institution as one for which he had great affection, and 
felt desirous for its prosperity ; " Having," he says, " made it my 
work to solicit the country in general, and particular persons to 

1 This interesting debate is in Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xxviii. pp. 99, 

2 Minot's Hist. Mass., vol. i. p. 51. 3 Winthrop, vol. ii. p. 322. 


take care thereof, in order to the advantage of posterity." He 
gave the military company of this town twenty pounds, to fur- 
nish "poor men on days of exercise " with arms. His will has 
this paragraph respecting funerals : " whereas, in funeral solemni- 
ties there is generally a great expense to little profit or advantage 
to particular persons : I do prohibit the giving any scarfs or ribbons 
to any persons except magistrates, and those who officiate at my 
funeral." * 

Richard Russell, the ancestor of a distinguished family in this 
country, was of a family no less celebrated in England. He came 
from Hereford, in Herefordshire, and was admitted an inhabitant of 
this town in 1640. In 1642 he was elected a selectman, and from 
this year until his death was constantly engaged in the public 
service. His name stands at the head of the board of selectmen 
seventeen years, and he was on it twenty-six years. He was 
elected representative first in 1646, and for ten years afterwards ; was 
an assistant sixteen years from 1659 to 1676; a speaker of the 
House of Deputies in 1648, '50, '54, '55 and '58; and for twenty 
years treasurer of the colony. 

Though thus engaged in public duties, he found time to embark, 
largely for those days, in commerce. He was deeply interested in 
navigation and real estate. He built, in this town, wharves and 
store-houses; purchased one quarter of the Pemaquid Patent; and 
in 1656, he bought of Edward Collins the greater part of what, at 
that date, was Medford. He accumulated a handsome fortune. 

i Francis -Willoughby had certainly two wives, perhaps three, for I 
find in Church Records, Mary ; in Boston Records, Sarah ; and on the 
Town Records, Margaret, wives of Francis. He had children, some of 
whom died young. Of the others, 

1, Jonathan, married Grizzel , and had Mary, born 1664. He 

was living in 1671. 

2, Nehemiah, born June 8, 1644, was a respected citizen and merchant 
of Salem ; married Abigail Bartholomew, January 2, 1672, who died 
September 3, 1702. He died November 6, 1702, leaving children, Fran- 
cis, Nehemiah, Abigail and Sarah. (Felt's Salem, p. 336.) 

3, William died of small pox in 1678. 

4, Sarah, baptised in 1641, who is named in 1662, as the " only daughter 
of Francis. She may have married Kempfield, or Campfield. 

By his last wife, Margaret, (whom he probably married in England, as 
he speaks of her as being a stranger in the country) Governor Willoughby 
had, 1, Francis; 2, Nathaniel, died 1663 ; 3, Susanna, born Aug. 19, 1664. 

Governor Willoughby's widow, Margaret, married Captain Lawrence 
Hammond, February 8, 1675, and died February 2, 1683. 


Richard Russell i died May 14, 1676, — leaving in his will ad- 
ditional proof of the interest he felt in the town, the church and 
the colony. To the church, " with whom he had been in sweet 
christian fellowship for many years," he gave one hundred pounds ; 
and also fifty pounds towards a house for the use of the ministry, 
provided it was built within two years. To the town he gave two 
hundred pounds to constitute a fund for the poor, — the annual 
proceeds of which (with additions) are, to this day, distributed by 
the selectmen and deacons. To Harvard College he gave one 
hundred pounds. This item of the will is in the following words : 

" To Harvard College in Cambridge T doe give and bequeath j£100, 
and my will is yt it shall be improved for the purchase of some real estate 
or otherwise so as to bring in an annual revenue and the principal not 
wasted ; and ye said annual revenue shall be allowed to two poor students 
yt may need the same for their furtherance in good literature." 

Mr. Russell opposed the sanguinary edicts against the Quakers, 

and was ever ready to afford substantial aid to the colony. His 

son James Russell, in a letter to the General Court regarding a 

settlement of the accounts of the late treasurer, dated May 24, 

1676, says : — 

" I hope you will please to take care for the reimbursing his estate for 
what he has expended in the countries service in this war and otherwise, 
and those personal engagements he has passed for the countries use and 
benefit, that so his children may not suffer for his love to the country. 
Thus, not doubting but you will in some measure consider the case, and 
take care not to injure or oppress the widow and fatherless, whose loss is 
so great already, and that there may be ordered a speedy settling of ac- 
coonts, I am &c." 

l Richard Russell married Maud . Their children were : — 

1, James, born, Oct. 4,1640, of whom a notice will be subsequently given. 

2, Daniel, who graduated at Harvard in 1669. He was a preacher of 
the Gospel ; invited to settle at Saybrook in Connecticut, and also at 
Charlestown. He accepted the latter invitation ; was about to be ordain- 
ed, when he died of small pox January 4, 1678, — leaving a widow, who 
was of Connecticut, and a daughter who married Hubbard. 

3, Catharine, who married, November 29, 1654, William Roswell, a 
merchant of Connecticut, and had children. 

4, Elizabeth, who married August 29, 1664, Nathaniel Graves, a sea 
captain, (see page 141,) and onhis death in 1679, she married Captain John 
Herbert of Reading, whom she survived. She died probably in 1713. 

Richard Russell's wife Maud died in 1652 ; and he married widow 
Mary Chester of Weathersfield, Connecticut. They had no children. 
She had by her first husband ; 1, son John ; 2, Stephen ; 3, Mercy, who died 
in this town in 1669 ; 4, Dorcas, married Samuel Whitney of Billerica ; 
5, Prudence, married Captain Thomas Russell of this town, had children 
Thomas, Mary and Prudence. She died October 21, 1678 ; he died 
October 20, 1666. 6, Eunice, married February 25, 1673, Captain 
Richard Sprague, son of Ralph, and died May 27, 1676. 



The epitaph on his monument is not wholly legible ; it is proba- 
ble that the following is but an imperfect copy of it : 

" Here lies interred the body of Richard Russell, esq. who served his 
country as treasurer, more than a treble prenticeship, and as magistrate, 
sixteen years, who departed this life, the 14th of May, 1676, being the 
65th year of his age. 

A saint, a husband, a faithful brother, 

A friend scarce parallell'd by any other ; 

A saint, that walked high in either way 

Of godliness and honesty, all say ; 

A husband rare to both his darling wives, 

To her deceased, to her who him survives ; 

A father politick, faithful, and kind 

Unto our state as treasurership we find ; 

Of fathers good and best to own to those 

On him a fathership law did impose. 

Moses brother kind good Aaron lov'd : 

On whom love showers how full of truth improv 'd ; 

A friend to needy poor whom he refresh'd, 

The poor may well lament the friend suppress'd. 

In time of war he was remov'd in peace, 

From sin and woes to glory, by his decease. 

N. B. The ravages of time and an accident during the siege of Bos- 
ton, in 1775, having destroyed the monument erected at the dicease of 
mr. Russell, this, being a true copy of the original, was replaced by his 
relations, A. D. 1787, in testimony of their regard to his memory. 1 

The Russell family are identified with the history of this town. 
And direct descendants of the treasurer exhibited, for five genera- 
tions, the same nobility of character, and shared, even more largely, 
of public honors. Judge James Russell, who died in 1798, wrote 
in the following strain to his son, Hon. Thomas Russell, an emi- 
nent merchant of his day : — 

" Our family has great reason to bless God that the reputation of it has 
been preserved. You are the fifth generation. In the year 1646, Richard 
Russell entered into public life. From that time to the present, I may 
say, the family have had every office of profit and honor which the people 
could give them, in the town of Charlestown, in the county of Middlesex 
and the State of Massachusetts ; and I do not find that there was any one 
left out of office for misbehaviour. Let our hearts be filled with gratitude 
to Him who has thus distinguished us, — never to be obliterated from any 
branch of the family ; and let us evidence this gratitude to our Maker by 
making a good improvement of our talents." 2 

i This is printed in Hist. Soc. Col., vol. ii. p. 179, and in Alden's 
Epitaphs. I copy from the stone. 2 MSS. Com. by Dr. Lowell. 



1650 to 1670. — Penny Ferry. — Grants of Land. — Trees. — Mansfield 
Petition. — Maiden Debts. — By-law respecting Strangers. — The 
Poor. — Burying Hill. — Town House. — Cow Commons. — Division 
of Land in 1658. — Names of the Inhabitants. — Josselyn's Visits to 
the Town. — Town Buckets. — Letter of Charles II. — Petition of 
Middlesex Artillery Company. — Grant to Charlestown. — Ezekiel 
Cheever's Petition. — Selectmen's Order respecting Boys. — Petition 
of Freemen. — Fine of John Davis. — Seating the People and Church 

1651. Penny Ferry was granted for a year to Phillip Knight, 
who appears to have had the income of it for taking care of it; he 
agreeing " to attend the ferry carefully, and not to neglect it, that 
there be no just complaint." 

At a " full meeting " of the citizens, it was agreed to give 
Walter Edmonds, " eighty pounds for his house, housing and 
ground to it, upon the hill side with the young trees in the garden : 
also a cows common and a half. It to be paid in money, or wheat, 
rye, barley and peaze, by the first of the ninth month, 1652." 

1652. The town made Increase Nowell the .grant of " all that 
part of lands which Squa Sachem gave formerly unto him, the 
which he had given to the town, which lies on the south side of 
his lot next Woburn." This tract of land was sold in 1656 by 
Mr. NowelFs heirs to Thomas Broughton, who sold it in 1659 to 
Richard Gardner. The descendants of the latter have lived on it 
to the present day. It is known as " Gardner's Row." 

The town also confirmed a grant made to Robert Sedgwick. The 
latter record commences .: — " whereas it was by the trained band 
of this town granted to Major Robert Sedgwick (though unknown 
to the selectmen) yet they, to gratify the said major, gave consent 
to the said grant," — which was a piece of land near the river, and 
adjoining his wharf, near the Town Dock. 

1653. The following order was passed by the selectmen in re- 
lation to cutting trees on the common grounds of the town : — 

" It was ordered that no inhabitant of this town, nor none of any other 
town, shall under any pretence whatsoever, fell or cut down any trees 


upon the common without the neck, or the common beyond Mistickfarm, 
within Charlestown bounds, or the common on Mistick side belonging to 
Charlestown, without first acquainting the selectmen therewith, upon the 
forfeit of what the selectmen shall see meet, who are to judge according 
as they are to conceive of the offence." 

1654. In 1652, the General Court took the important step of 
establishing a mint; and John Hull and Robert Sanderson were 
mint masters. In 1654, John Mansfield, of this town, petitioned 
that he might help " to coin and melt and fine silver with Mr. 
Hull and Goodman Saunders in the country-house ; " and added, 
" for I served eleven years and one half prentice to the same arts, 
and am a freeman of London, and am also sworn to be true to 
the country, as I hope I shall." A few years later, (1668) he 
again petitioned the Court, stating " his extremity of poverty ; ' 
when the Court ordered the town to " repair his house " or "to 
build him a new one," and that the house shall be obligated to pay 
the expenses " after the death of Mansfield and wife." 

This year there is the following record : — 

" That which our Brethren of Maiden are to allow their proportion of, 
to this Town for Debts owing when they went from us : viz, 

Owing to the Captain of the Castle when our brethren went 

away to 1649, 
To Mr. Long for diet, 
To Mr. Mellows, 
To Widow Rand, 
To Mr. Nowell for a man at Castle, 
To Lawrence Dowse, 
To Goodman Tedd, 
To Foxes and Wolves, 
To Mr. Norton for charge about the Castle, 
To a petition about Meadford, 
To our Elders Allowances, 
To The Training Place, 
To Captain Davenport from the 9th month 1648 

to the fifth month 1650 £ 31:4:0 

By-laws in relation to entertaining strangers, were often renewed 
and ordered to be posted up. It was found difficult to enforce 
them. The following will serve as a specimen of these laws at 
this period : — 

" Whereas it is found by dayly experience that Towns are brought 
under great burthen and charge by their inhabitants receiving and enter- 
taining of strangers into their Houses and families without the knowledge 
or consent of the select men ; 

"And whereas it may bee of very great inconveniency and extreame 
charge for the future to this towne ; 




























"It is therefore ordered by the Townsmen this 24th day of the 11th 
month 1653 that no inhabitant of this town called Charltowne shall sell, 
or let, or dispose of, any Hous lott, or Hous in the sayd Towne to any 
stranger whosoever to inhabit amongst us without the knowledg and 
consent of the sayd selectmen : 

"Alsoe it is ordered that no Inhabitant of this towne shall receive any in- 
mates ould or yonge intoo their sayd Houses to abyde with them above a 
weeks tyme, without approbation from the selectmen aforesaid, or security 
from the sayd Person or Persons so receiving any inmates to bear the Town 
harmelesse, and to save it from all charge and damage that may come by 
such persons so residing with them ; and if any person of this towne not- 
withstanding this order shall be delinquent, then every such person for 
the first offence to forfeit ten shillings, and for every week after ten shil- 
lings more so long as they shall be so defective. Johx Greene." 

This year there were several persons fined at the Quarter Court, 
holden alternately at this town and Cambridge, for being absent 
from the public ordinances on the Lord's days. One was presented 
for being absent twenty weeks, but he satisfied the Court for six of 
the Sabbaths, and was let off with a fine of three pounds ten shil- 
lings, or five shillings a Sabbath. Another was fined five pounds 
for twenty Sabbaths. The Court, March 18, imposed the follow- 
ing fine : — 

" Rowland Leyhorne's wife, being presented to this court by the Grand 
Jury, for making disturbance on the Lords day, in the public assembly at 
Maiden, and washing clothes on the Lord's day, she freely acknowledged 
and confessed her sin and fault in the court, and her husband Rowland 
Leyhorne consented to allow the four witnesses 2d per diem." 

The following record is a specimen of other punishments of the 
time ; which appear to have been inflicted by the constables, some- 
times in this town and sometimes in Cambridge, but generally on 
'* Lecture days : " — 

"John Baker and Susan Martin, being convicted before this court for 
fornication by them committed together, are sentenced by this court to 
be each of them severely whipt with twelve stripes a piece upon their 
naked bodies at Cambridge the next lecture day, before the public concourse 
of people, and are also enjoined to marry together." 

1655. The provision made for the poor has been already stated 

(p. 98.) This year the records contain notices of Hannah Martin, 

"the lame girl," and Roger Morgan, "the blinde man," who were 

maintained by the town : for keeping the former, five pounds a 

year was paid. The following order relates to the latter : — 

"Agreed with John Pentecost that he is to have and keep Roger in his 
house this year ensuing. He is to find and allow him meat, dunk, lodg- 
ings, washing, and the like necessaries, for which the town is to give 
John Pentecost four shillings per week, and all that Roger earns by his 
work is to be brought in by account, and to go towards the payment of 


the 4s. a week, only what is laid out for clothes for the year is to be de- 
ducted out of his work." 

Upon the request of the inhabitants, Richard Russell, Ralph 

Mousall and Thomas Lynde, were appointed by the General Court 

to act as commissioners to " end small causes " in town according 

to law. 

1656. The town granted the common marsh before the burying- 
hill to Solomon Phipps and Lawrence Douse, " in consideration of 
twelve pounds in good merchantable wheat and pease of each a 
like quantity : " the hill " remaining free and entire for the 
town's use, only liberty is granted them to feed on the burying-hill, 
provided no inconvenience accrue to the hill, — the broadway 
going up to the hill being fully reserved to the town's use." They 
were to make and maintain the gate of that way " to the hill, also 
the lime-kilns are excepted, and a free way to them." The " right 
of herbage " was retained by individuals until it was purchased by 
the town in 1807, of the late Jacob Foster for four hundred dollars. 

1657. A number of citizens subscribed twenty-nine pounds 

ten shillings toward building a "house," probably a town-house, 

on the Town Hill. This induced the town to pass the following 

vote : — 

" At a generall town meeting of all the Inhabitants of Charletowne the 
second day of the eleaventh mo : 1656. Tt was agreed unanimously by 
the generall Townsmen, that a Hous should bee made and sett up upon 
the Windmill Hill : And the bell sufficiently hanged thereon ; and a 
Sun-dial there ; And to be done by a generall rate speedily to be gathered 
of the inhabitants, who are to pay each his proportion in good and mer- 
chantable Wheat at four shillings a bushell, and Barlee at four shillings a 
bushell, and Peas at three shillings and sixpence a bushell. The cost 
and charge off all not to exceed ffifty pounds at the moste." 

A record was made of the number of cow commons each indi- 
vidual had in the stinted pasture, lying between " the neck of land, 
Menotomies River, and the farms of Medford and Mr. Winthrop." 
The following is the form of this record : — 

" Confirmed and entered for Thomas Lynde Senior — nineteen cow 

I say to him and his heirs forever. 

John Greene, Recorder. 

1658. The early action of the town, in relation to dividing the 
land, has been related. 1 The details of an important division con- 
cluded this year, will show the manner of proceeding at a later 

l See chap. viii. 


date ; and also furnish the names, probably, of all the male inha- 
bitants of the town in 1658. 

When Maiden was set off in 1649, Charlestown retained a large 
quantity of land on Mistick side, lying between Maiden and Med- 
ford Farm. The town voted to divide a part of this land, and a 
large committee was raised to determine upon the principles upon 
which it should be done. This committee reported, 1 February 
13, 1657, as follows :— 

" The returne made by those brethren that were deputed by the Inhabi- 
tants of Charletowne for the propounding of a way for the deviding this 
Towns Land on Mistik syde into commonage ; as alsoe the dividing of the 
wood and tymber that each inhabitant may have his proportion. After 
some debate spent, and tyme in the consideration hereoff, all the commit- 
tees unanimously concurring therein, doe present this as their advice unto 
the sayd town. 

"Imprimis : That every head rated in the cuntry rate be vallewed at 
twenty pounds. 

"2, That all women, children, and servants that are not rated in the 
cuntry rate in regard of their heads, that every two of them be vallewed at 
the like proportion, that is to say at twenty pounds. 

" 3, That every £100 estate brought in to be rated to defraye cuntry 
charges, then that to have the like proportion, that is to say, five tymes 
as much as he that is only ratable for his head, and ten tymes soe much 
as where there is onely women and children ; that is to say, ten of them 
to $ 100 estate ; and soe where there is not jCIOO rated yet what part of 
a hundred Pounds that is rated, then that to have its proportion as 
aforesayd, and soe where there is but one woman, childe, or servant they 
to have their proportion as being halfe heads. 

"4, Ffor the de vision of the wood and tymber, we conceave the whole 
to be devided into ten equall parts, and the devisions to runn from Mistick 
bounds to Readding bounds the longest way. 

" 5, That the whole according unto the proportions above sayd to be cast 
up as supposing them a thousand parts, that then every hundred of these 
to be comprised under each equall part of the ten parts, the first devision 
to be made by survayours chosen out by the whole towne, the latter to be 
made by those whose lot shall fall to be together in any one of the tenn parts. 

" 6, That because some inhabitants in this towne are ratable, and yet not 
rated by means of bearing some publick office ; and being freed by court or- 
der; as these alsoe that are troopers, and soe exempted for their heads in 
poynt of cuntry rates, as alsoe some by means of poverty ; yet all these 
to have their proportion in this devision, they that have estates, for them 
to have a proportion accordingly ; And those that have no estates, yett 
those of years to be vallewed at twenty pounds. And those that are 
women and children and servants that they be vallewed as aforesayed, 
that is twoo to twenty pounds. 

Thomas Brattle, in the behalf of the rest. 

1 This report and the list of names is copied from the original in vol. ii. 
of the Town Records. According to the principles of the division, the 
quantity of each individual indicates, nearly, his relative circumstances, as 
to property. It is, therefore, in this respect, not unlike a tax list of 



The town voted to accept this report, to add two to the commit- 
tee, and to authorize the division to be made on these principles. 
Another long agreement was concluded March 1, 1658. This pro- 
vides, that in case any person did not remain in town one year, he 
should lose his share " both of wood and commons :" that none should 
sell their shares but to an inhabitant of the town, upon the forfeit- 
ure of twelve-pence per load of wood, and the whole of the com- 
mons : that each proprietor should pay for laying out his lot. 
The other provisions relate to localities. Then the following entry 
was made in the Town Records. 

" The returne of the committee apoynted by the Inhabitants of Charl- 
towne, for the division of the wood and commons on Mistick syde, with 
the inhabitants their assent to the articles above mentioned ; Accepted, by 
drawing each his lott the day and year above written : And is as follow- 
eth ;— 

T3 a 


O o 



































































fc % 

Edward Carrinton, 
Christopher Good wine, 
Thomas Alice Rand, 
Richard Sprague, . 
Edward Brazier, 
Jacob Greene, 
Samuel Beadle, 
George Heypbourn, . 
John Trumble, 
Mihell Long, . 

Ten Families, . 

John Clough, 
Josiah Wood, . 
John Palmer, 
Sarah Sallee's hous, . 
William Bullard, 
William Clough, 
Mr. Winthrop's Farme, 
Edward Wilson, 
John Funnell, 
Nathaniell Blancheer, 

Ten Families, . 

John Mirick, . 
Thomas Lynde, 
John Withman, 
William Morris, 
John Long, 
John Patefield, 
Randolph Nichols, . 
Robert Chalkley, 
William Jones, Mason, 
Josuah Tydd, . 

Ten Families, . 

John Richbell, 
Lawrence Dous, 
Monsieur Belvile, . 
John George, . 

John Baxter, . 
Thomas Brigden, Senior, 
Thomas Osborne, 
Widow Goble's house, 
John Cloys, 
John White, . 

Ten Families, . 

Robert Cutler, 
John Roper, 
Thomas Carter, 
John Fosdicke, 
T. G. Drinker's Hous, 
Capt. Lusher's House, 
Faint : winds, . 
Robert Long, . 
James Broune, 
Barnaby Davis, 

Ten Families, . 


Benjamine Wilson, 
Ould Mr. Rich'd Browne 
Phinias Pratt, 
Thomas Wilder, 
Thomas Peirce, 
Edward Burt, 
George Hutchson, . 
William Croutch, 
William Roswell, 

Ten Families, . 


































-3 m 

8.5 £ 


"3 tt 

1 i§ 

£ < 

6 s 



Nicholas Shapley, . 



Thomas Hett, 



Elias Roe, 



Samuell Adams, 



Seth Switzer, . 



Mrs. Trarice, 



Thomas Sheppy, 



Thomas Kimball, 



William Dade, 



Henry Cookery, 



Capt. John Allen, . 



Mrs. Nowell and farme, 



Ten Families, 



Mr. Richard Russell, 



Isaak Cole, . . 



John Mousall, 



Mathew Price, 



Widow Frothingham, 



Gardy James, 



Ten Families 



John March, . 



Mikell Smith, 



John Johnson, 



Natha : Smith's hous, 



William Hilton, 



James Heyden, 



Widow Nash, 



Leift. Wheelers Farme, 



Charlestowne Mill, . 



Hadloks Hous, . 



Daniel Edmonds, 



John Tucky, 



William Bachelor, . 



Ten Families, . 



Roger Spencer, 



Thomas Starr, 



Mr. Willoughbys state, 
Samuel Ward, 



Thomas Adams, 





Samuell Carter, 



William Baker, 



John Call, 



Ten Families, 



Mrs. Graves, . 



John Phillips, 



Mrs. Sedgwick, ali state 



John Knight, . 



Mr. Zachary Syms, 



Old Pritchard, . 



Marke Kings, 



Widow Stubbs, 



Mrs. Kempthorne, . 



Thomas Mousall, 



John Mansfeild. 



Peeter Nash, . 



Ten Families, . 



Widow Cole, . 



Josuah Edmonds, 



George Buncker, 



Widow Cartar, 



Matthew Griffin, 



Sollomon Phips, 



Widow AmyStowers, 



Henry Salter, 



Ten Families, . 



William Johnson, 



Richard Kettle, 



Widow Streeters Hous, 



Thomas Brigden, Junior, 



William Bicknor, 



Sargt Cutters hous, . 



Giles Fiffeild, 



Faithfull Rous, . 



John Burrage, 



John Scott, 



Captain Francis Norton, 
Mr. Nicholas Davison 



Ten Families, . 



and farme 



Edward Johnson, 



James Cary, 



Henery Harbert, 
John Blancheer, 



Tho. Welsh, . 





Mr. Thomas Shepheard, 



John Lawrence, 



Richard Templar, . 



James Peckar, 



Ten Families, . 



John Drinker, 



Thomas Gould, 



William Goose, 



Robert Leach, 



Phillips' Estate, 



Samuell Blancheer, . 



William Stitson, 



Benjamine Switzer. . 



George Blancheer, 



William Foster, 


Ten Families, 

234 ' 





T3 to 
O _ <X> 

° 2 o 
£ < 


O o 

° 2 

John Harris, 


Miles Nutt, 



Aaron Ludkin, 



Mathew Smith, 



John Smith, . 



George Fowle, 



Walther Allen, 



Abraham Smith, 



John Pentecost, 



Richard Stowers, 



Abram Bell, 



Joseph Stower, 



Five Families, . 



Benjamine Lathrop, 
John Dudly, . 
Richard Lowden, 




These following had not any lotts 
allowed them, but upon due consider- 
ation, when the whole towne met, it 

Ten Families, . 



was agreed, that tViey should have as 
hereunder set down, — the number 

Richard Austin, 
Zachary Long, 
Steeven Fosdike, 








to begin where the others left 
they amongst themselves to 
their lotts. 


John Gould, 
Deacon Robert Hale, 
Mrs. Coytmore & hous, 
Jonathan Wads's hous, 

T3 TO 


o o 
O E 

Mr. Morly, 



Joseph Noyes, , 
Widow Alice Mousall, 




John Martin, . 
Matthew Smith, 



Thomas Jones, butcher, 



Edward Wyer, 


Steeven Grover, 


Ten Families, . 



Daniel King, . 
Alexander Bow, 



William Syms, 



John Foskit, 


Thomas Filleborne, . 



John Hamblton, 


Widow Joana Larkin, 



James Grant, . 


Walter Edmonds, 



James Davis, 


Thomas Jenner, 



Isaac Cole, Jun'r., 


Mr. Thomas Allen's, 



Woory's hous, 


Elder Greene, 



John Trumble's hous, 


Thomas Orto n, 



Abram Jaquith's Hous, 


John Cutler, 



Daniel Shepherdson's " 


Roger Els, 



Hercules Corser, 


Ten Families, . 



Seventeen Families, 



1659. The County Court Records contain the following : — 

" The wife of John Mansfield, being accused, and by her own confes- 
sion convicted, of exhorbitant carriages, and reproachful speeches, against 
authority, is sentenced to be whipt by the constable of Charlestown ten 
stripes, by warrant from Mr. Russell ; and if again she shall break out in 
the like manner, she is to be sent to the house of correction." 

Thomas Welsh covenanted to keep the " lame girl," Hannah 
Martin, for five years, — "obliging himself to find and maintain 
her with meat, drink, and convenient apparel for the said term, 
and taking care that she may, as much as may be, enjoy the ben- 
efit of the ordinances." 

1660. Josselyn, who was twice in this country, and published 
a narrative of his voyages, relates that it was reported in England 


that Charlestown had been taken by the Turks. He gives the ru- 
mor as follows : — 

" June 20. That 18 Turksmen of war the 24 of Jan'y 1659-60 landed 
at a Town, called Kingsword (alluding to Charlestown) three miles from 
Boston, Killed 40, took Mr. Sims minister prisoner, wounded him, killed 
his wife and three of his little children, carried him away with 57 more, 
burnt the Town, carried them to Argier, their loss amounting to 12000 
pound — the Turk demanding 8000 pound ransom to be paid within seven 

Josselyn visited Charlestown, and mentions, in 1638, calling at 
Mr. Long's ordinary, and finding on the back side of it a rattle- 
snake, a yard and a half long, which he minutely describes. On 
his second visit (1663), he gave a brief description of the town : — 

"The passage from Boston to Charlestown is by a ferry worth forty or 
fifty pounds a year and is a quarter of a mile over. The river Mistick runs 
through the right side of the Town, and by its near approach to Charles 
river in one place makes a very narrow neck, where stands most part of 
the Town, the market place not far from the water side is surrounded 
with houses, forth of which issue two streets orderly built and beautified 
with Orchards and Gardens, their meeting house stands on the north side 
of the market, having a little hill behind it ; there belongs to this Town 
one thousand and two hundred acres of arable, four hundrid head of cattle, 
and as many sheep, these also provide themselves farms in the country." 

One thousand acres of land were laid out, by order of the Gen- 
eral Court, " for the use of the school of Charlestown," "in the 
wilderness, on the western side of Merrimack River, at a place 
commonly called by the Indians, Sodegonock." 

1661. " Ordered that Thomas Brigden, senior, deliver the town 
buckets to any person or inhabitant of this town upon notice of 
fire within the town ; provided the said Brigden takes care for the 
bringing them to the Meeting House again. And is to be satisfied 
for his pains and care therein." 

1662. Soon after the restoration, Charles II. addressed a letter 
to the colonists, in which a right was assumed to interfere with the 
internal affairs of the colony. This letter was read in the town 
meetings. This circumstance was recorded as follows : — "At a 
general meeting of all the inhabitants of Charlestown the 6th day of 
October, 1662, the Kings Letter directed to the General Court 
was openly and deliberately read by Jacob Greene, then one of 
the constables of the town." Some feeling was manifested at Wo- 
burn on reading this letter. Isaac Cole refused to read it ; and 
Edward Converse openly declared, that they " who brought the 
Kings letter to Woburn, brought popery thither." Both were 
summoned to answer for their conduct. 


Mr. Long of this town, had his license renewed " for keeping 
a house of common entertainment and for retailing wine and strong 
waters, on condition that no strong waters be suffered to be tipled 
or drunk in or about any house or place of any such his retailing, 
nor sold to any but masters of families of good report, or travellers 
in their journey. Penalty, forfeit of license and £5." 

Phineas Pratt, of this town, May 1662, presented a "narrative 
of the streights and hardships that the first planters of this colony 
underwent in their endeavors to plant themselves in Plymouth and 
since, whereof he was one." In answer to his petition the Court 
granted him three hundred acres. Mr. Pratt, in his old age, was 
assisted by the town and died April 19, 1680. His narrative can- 
not be found. 

The following petition is in the hand writing of Francis Norton. 
(See page 86.) In answer to it, the Court, May 9, 1662, made the 
company a grant of one thousand acres of land : — 

"To the Hond, Genii. Court now assembled at Boston. 
The petition of the Artillery Company for the County of Middlesex. 
In most Humble wise sheweth ; 

Whereas by the favourable allowance and grant of this Hon'd Court 
for Sundry years now past, your petitionors have had free liberty to meet 
together and exercise themselves for their instruction in the military art, 
wherein, while your petitioners haus sought yr owne profiting, their Lit 
me End haus been the service of the Lord and his people therein ; for fur- 
ther incouragement of which worke many of us expecting daly when we 
shall be called off the stage, and others take our places, who were not born. 
Soldiers no more than wee, and will yrfore stand in like need of Help for 
their instruction as those yt have b'en their predecessors, or els on neglect 
ye of, wee need not pesent to yor wisedome the Sad consequences yt will 
ensue ; Your petitioners do yrfore Humbly beg of this Court to grant to 
the said Society 1000 acres of land, to be layd out in such places, where 
it may be improved for the benefit of the sd Society ; the wch althouh 
to your petitioners it will be both travell and charge, yet being unfeignedly 
desirous yt so good an exercise should be continued, even when where they 
can be of no more use and service to God and his people in this world, 
they shall endeavour the improvement yrof, for the furtherance of the 
ends proposed and shall continue to pray that He, who is the Lord of 
Hosts, may be wth you and observe you in all ye weighty concernments 
for the furtherance of his glory and the peace of his people in these ends 
of the Earth." Fran . N> {n the name of thg Regt „ 

1663. In answer to the petition of Captain Francis Norton 
and Nicholas Davison, in behalf of the inhabitants of this town, 
" they being straightened by parting with lands to accommodate 
Cambridge, Woburn and Maiden," the General Court granted to 
the town five hundred acres of land. This was laid out " on the 
westward side of the bounds of Lancaster." 


1666. There is much matter on the records, relative to the 
dealings of the fathers of the town with the rising generation; and 
especially relative to their behavior in the meeting house. At a 
general town meeting, January 1, the town voted to leave the sub- 
ject with the selectmen. The latter, January 12, passed the fol- 
lowing order : 

"By the Selectmen, Whereas there are many complaints of the rude 
and irreverent carriages of many of our youths especially in the times of 
the public ordinances of praying and preaching Lords Days which we 
conceive is heightened for want of due inspection and being and keeping 
in some certain appointed place or places. And we being called and en- 
couraged by all our householders to take care about them, that profane- 
ness may be prevented, and the government incumbent on governors of 
families not scandalized. We judge it our duty to commend it as our 
affectionate desire to all our inhabitants, concerned herein to further us with 
their cheerful endeavors, and that each person whom we nominate would 
in his term sit before the youths pew on Lords day during the morning 
and evening exercise. It being our joint expectation that all youths 
under fifteen years of age unless on grounded exemption by us, do con- 
stantly sit in some one of those three pews made purposely for them. It 
is our desire that all parents and governors will require their children and 
servants of the capacity aforesaid to sit and continue orderly in those pews 
except mr. Cheevers scholars, who are required to sit orderly and con- 
stantly in the pews appointed for them together. It is moreover com- 
mended to the conscientious care and endeavour of those that do sit before 
the youths pews Lords days to observe their carriage, and if any youth 
shall carry it rudely and irreverently to bring them before one of our ma- 
gistrates with convincing testimony that due course may be taken with 
them for the discouragement of them and any others of like profane 
behavior. We doubt not but we shall find our householders active herein 
that so guilt may not be contracted by personal or general default herein. 

Ezekiel Cheever, the renowned schoolmaster of his day, had at 
this period the charge of the Town School. On the 3rd of No- 
vember he presented the following "motion" to the selectmen : 

" First, that they would take care the school house be speedily 
amended because it is much out of repair. 

" Secondly, that they would take care that his yearly salary be 
paid, the constables being much behind with him. 

" Thirdly, putting them in mind of their promise at his first 
coming to town, viz. that no other schoolmaster should be suffered, 
or set up in the town so as he could teach the same, yet now Mr. 
Mansfield is suffered to teach and take away his scholars." 

At this time Matthew Smith was employed as Town Messenger 
at thirty shillings a year ; and Thomas Brigden, senior, " to look 
unto the Meeting House and clear it, to ring the bell to meetings, 
and to keep out doggs in meeting time, and to receive four pounds 
yearly for his salary." 


1667. The following agreement gives some idea of the price of 

carpenter work in the olden time : — 

* " This day an agreement made with Solomon Phipps to lay upon the 
roof of our meeting- house, viz. upon one half of the house fifteen or six- 
teen thousand of good shingles : the said Phipps to find the shingles and 
lay them only ; and the selectmen are to find boards and nails sufficient for 
the work ; he is to finish the work by the last day of May next ensuing, 
and is to receive twenty-two shillings per thousand to be paid out of the 
next town rates by the constable ; only the selectmen do promise to give 
him twenty shillings in money over and above the bargain of 22s per 

1668. The records of this period indicate the jealousy of the 
fathers of the town respecting strangers, — citizens being often 
summoned before them for harboring inmates. Quaker preachers 
were disseminating their views in the towns ; and the Baptists had 
organized a church here ; and hence this uncommon vigilance. 
One instance was the case of John Davis. He entertained Thomas 
Maul, a Quaker, who even began "to exercise his trade" of a 
tailor, without the consent of the selectmen. The latter called 
Davis to account for his hospitality; who replied, that "he 
would not put him (Maul) out of his house, but would keep him 
with him, contrary to the mind and prohibition of the selectmen." 
A week later, Mr. Davis was again summoned before the select- 
men ; when he replied that " Mr. Maul had left that very morn- 
ing." He was fined eighteen shillings " for his untimely words 
spoken," "but especially for his entertaining" the tailor " six days 
after he was forbidden." Thomas Maul, the next year, at Salem, 
was sentenced to be whipped ten stripes for saying " that Mr. 
Higginson preached lies, and that his instruction was the doctrine 
of Devils." The selectmen continued to look sharp after Davis; 
for a few months later he was again summoned before them, and 
" warned that he should not frequent ordinaries at any time for 
the future." 

A petition was sent to the General Court, in the name of the 
Freemen, which shows the political spirit of the times. This year the 
Court determined to take the power of nominating military officers 
into its own hands; and hence the action of the town. Deacon 
Stitson and Captain Allen, who appeared in behalf of the freemen, 
were two of the most respected citizens : — 

" To the much Honoured the General Court assembled at Boston. 
The Humble petition of the freemen of Charlestown : 
" Humbly sheweth That your petitioners having through the favour, 


and blessing of God, lived under this Government, as tis now established, 
for many years, enjoying under the shadow thereof wonderful preservation, 
by the special presence of God with, and the care, and prudence of this 
honoured Court ; together with such priviledges, and immunities, which 
seem to be essential to the constituting of our freedom, (viz — a free, 
and inviolable choice of our heads, and rulers over, as well civil and ecclesi- 
astical, as military affairs,) and which hath rendered us the most happy 
people that we know of in the world. 

" Now forasmuch as we are not conscious to our selves of any unfaith- 
fulness to the interests of this Commonwealth, and government, but we 
hope a studious care to maintain the good of the same, and that in partic- 
ular in the reference to our choice of military officers, hath from time to time 
been manifested ; The persons chosen having generally approved them 
selves faithful to their trust. We would not but with grief of heart receive 
that unwilcome account given" us by our deputy, of the voting down soe 
considerable a part of our so long enjoyed liberty, at the last session of the 
general Court, viz, the choice of our military ******** which as it seems 
to reflect unfaithfulness upon us, so (should it proceed) **** under great 

" Your petitioners, therefore do humbly ***** entreat this honourable 
Court to take the premises into your serious consideration, that we may 
not loose that in a day, which as we humbly conceive, hath been so many 
years, enjoyed, as our undoubted right: but that the same being confirmed 
to us (as that which can have no dangerous consequences ; whilst our 
choice stands or falls, to the courts approbation or rejection) we may 
with all cheerful industry, not in this case only, but in all cases relating to 
the universal good of this government, be encourage to approve ourselves 
most faithful to the interest of the same." 

And your petitioners shall ever pray &c, 

Willliam Stitson ? in the name of the 
John Allen £ freemen." i 

This petition was referred to a committee of three, who reported 
that the Freemen were " not rightly informed " so "earnestly," 
upon " slender ground, to assert that for an undoubted right which 
no-ways belongs to them, it being always in the Court's power to 
allow and confirm military officers." Heretofore the people had 
nominated them, and the County Court approved of the nomination ; 
the course now adopted was justified " as more agreeable to the 

1669. A rate was made to support public worship. The min- 
isters, at first, were paid by the company. This practice, how- 
ever, continued but a few years, when the duty was put upon the 
towns. It does not appear from the Records of this town how the 
money was raised for this purpose ; though the meeting house was 
paid for, and kept in repair, by a general rate. In other towns, 2 
it was raised, both by voluntary contributions and taxation. It is 

i The original, in the Mass. Archives, is imperfect. 
2 Felt's MSS., Hist. Salem. 


probable that such was the practice here, and that those who re- 
fused to contribute, were taxed. A citizen of Watertown, in 
1643, on being rated for this cause, wrote a book against support- 
ing public worship by taxation; wherein, "besides his arguments, 
which were naught, he cast reproach upon the elders." 1 He was 
fined ten pounds ; not for his arguments, for " they were not worth 
the answering ; " 2 but for his speeches. No trace has been found 
of this dangerous book. 3 The individual mentioned in the follow- 
ing vote was, probably, of those who refused to contribute: 
" 1667. 25 . 9. John Gould appearing before the selectmen, being 
demanded whether he would pay any thing to the maintaining of 
ordinances for the time past, answered plainly that he was not will- 
ing to pay any thing for the time past." 

The action of the towns on the subject of seating people in the 
meeting house, took place about this time. The formality of it in 
this town, and the wording of the votes, indicate something more 
than mere seating the people in pews. At " a general town meet- 
ing " February 26, 1667, it was " agreed by mutual vote," to 
choose a committee of five to join with the selectmen, " to consult 
and conclude of the way to bring in what may be sufficient to 
maintain ordinances comfortably amongst us, and that speedily to 
be done." Another vote indicates the nature of this business : — 
"Voted that the townsmen with the committee abovesaid, should have 
liberty to seat all the inhabitants in pews in the meeting house." 

This committee matured their plan ; and, April 9, the selectmen 

appointed James Cary, recorder, and Richard Lowden, constable, 

to "give notice to each person and to shew them as near as may 

be verbally where they are appointed to sit, and to inform them 

how much they are seized to pay." A few months later, January 

27, 1669, the selectmen ordered : — 

" That Richard Lowden is and shall be impowered to ask and receive 
of all the inhabitants of this town all such sums as they are rated or pro- 
portioned to pay unto the maintenance of the ordinances amongst us : 
He being deputed by us to collect it, and to pay it to the deacons of the 
church. For his care and pains to have ten pounds paid by us for this 
year ensuing." 

1 Winthrop, vol. ii. p. 93. 

3 Savage in Winthrop, vol. ii. p. 93. 

2 Hubbard, p. 412 




2? :3 

& ! 



Ecclesiastical History, 1650 to 1670. — Thomas Shephard, — his views 
on Toleration. — Baptism. — The Synod of 1662. — Increase of 
Baptists. — Thomas Gould, — his neglect of Baptism ; views of the 
Church. — Gould before the County Court, — before the Church. — 
Private Meetings. — A Church Meeting. — Baptist Church form- 
ed. — An Excommunication. — The Baptists and the General 
Court; their Sentence. — An Oral Theological Discussion. — The 
Baptists imprisoned, — their Letter from Prison, — petitions in their 
favor, — release, — removal to Boston. — The Quakers. — Benanuel 
Bowers. — Death of Zechariah Symmes. 

Rev. Thomas Allen returned to England in 1651, and Mr. 

Symmes, for eight years, was the sole pastor of the church, — a 
period mostly of harmony and prosperity. In 1659, April 13, Rev. 
Thomas Shephard, a son of the beloved and celebrated minister, 
of the same name,, of Cambridge, was ordained as Teacher. He 
was born in" London, April 5, 1635, and graduated at Harvard 
College in 1653. The church records contain the following 
notice of the services on the ordination : — 

" Mr. Thomas Shephard was ordained with prayer and fasting unto the 
office of a Teacher to the Church of Christ in Charlestown, by me, Zech- 
ariah Symmes pastor to the same Church. Mr. John Wilson, Pastor to 
the Church of Christ in Boston, and Mr. Richard Mather teacher to the 
Church of Christ at Dorchester, at the desire of our Church joyning with 
me in laying on of hands upon the aforesaid Mr. Thomas Shephard : 
and Mr. Norton teacher to the church at Boston, in the name of the rest 
of the messengers of four churches, to wit, of Boston, Roxbury, Cam- 
bridge, Watertown, giving unto him the right hand of fellowship." 

Mr. Shephard enjoyed uncommon influence among his contem- 
poraries. His learning and talents commanded their respect, while 
they loved him for his great goodness of heart, agreeable manners, 
and many virtues. Mather pronounced him to be " as great a 
blessing and glory as Charlestown ever had." 

Though unlike in many things, there appears to have been har- 
mony of religious views in the two ministers, for Mr. Shephard 
was as conservative a puritan as his senior associate. That he 
did not feel more lenient towards new views, or heresies, may be 
concluded from the following extracts from one of his sermons : — 


" Remember that a main design of God's people's adventuring into this 
wilderness was for progress in the work of Reformation, and that in the 
way of brotherly communion with the reformed churches of Christ in 
other parts of the world. forsake not, deny not, condemn not that fun- 
damental design ! and otherwise indeed what needed they to have remo- 
ved from England 1 (this cannot be justly denied) there were then in the 
place from whence they came, mixtures in the worship of God, and the 
blessed Sabbath of God struck at, &c, which they were grieved with, 
and vexed their righteous souls from day to day ; but here they hoped 
they might enjoy freedom from those pollutions, and freedom to follow 
the Lord fully in all his ordinances and appointments. I say to follow 
the Lord (not by halves : not still in way of mixtures of religions to have 
a medley of all sorts of religion, but) fully ; with what purity the Lord 
would give them light for and power to enjoy without molestation." 
# # # # 

" And shall any now plead for mixtures of men's superstitious inventions 
in the worship of God ? and what else is the spirit of that toleration, which 
many cry up ; but that no thorough and effectual testimony should be 
borne against such idolatrous mixtures'? The hearty love and union of a 
truly religious people, consists not in a boundless toleration of sin, but in 
the way of reformation. Ezek. xi. 18, 19. * * * " Let the magis- 
trates coercive power in matters of Religion (therefore) be still asserted, 
seeing he is one who is bound to God, more than any other man, to cher- 
ish his true religion." 

With ministers of such views, the church met the exciting ques- 
tions of the next ten years. The protestantism, so earnestly de- 
fended, favored and justified the growth of sects ; and hence there 
appeared among the colonists more of those "mixtures in the wor- 
ship of God " which they had come so far, and endured so much, 
to avoid. But these sects they regarded as pollutions which to 
tolerate was sin. 

The question, Who were the subjects of baptism ? first occupied 
the attention of the church. It was then in theory restricted to 
the children of those in full communion ; but others also desired it, 
and the custom was increasing of complying with their request. 
But it was an innovation, and the General Court in 1662 con- 
vened a synod to deal with it. The synod declared that the chil- 
dren of adults who publicly professed the Faith and gave their 
children to the Lord, were subjects of baptism ; that each church 
was independent and competent of itself, to administer all the or- 
dinances of Christ : and that there ought to be a consociation of 
churches. The result of the synod was communicated to the 
General Court; which, October 8, 1662, commended it to the con- 
sideration of the people and churches. The records give the fol- 
lowing account of the action of this church : — 

" 1662-3, Feb'ry 4. The decision of the late Synod about Baptism 


Consociation was read by the Elders at a church meeting (except the pre- 
face of the book containing that decision act, which had been read before 
at a church meeting Jan'y 7, 1662-3, and generally well approved) 
and liberty given to the brethren to express their objections (if they had 
any) against any part thereof; and after some discourse, the brethren 
did generally express themselves (at least three fourths of them by word 
of mouth) that they did consent to the whole book for the substance there- 
of, and desired that the will of God therein might be attended ; and upon 
a vote silentiary propounded, it was so carried, nemine contradicente, in 
the affirmative." 

The increase of the Baptists interrupted the peace of the church. 
Thomas Gould, an esteemed member and respected citizen, be- 
came a convert, and in a few years the founder of a church. This, 
for nearly seventy years, was the only Baptist society in this colony ; 
and its members, for several years, occupied much of the time of 
the courts. A narrative of the proceedings in relation to them 
will reflect much of the spirit of the times- 

In consequence of his conversion, Mr. Gould withheld his child 
from baptism. This was a custom held sacred by the church and 
it could not overlook this neglect. The members asked, " Should 
the clear, sure, comfortable, blessed, glorious experience of so 
many servants of Christ be now concluded to be so many mistakes, 
fancies and delusions?" Its opposite, Anabaptism, as the new 
faith was named, they regarded as " a scab," — "a cruel and hard- 
hearted opinion," — " an engine framed to cut the throat of the 
infantry of the church." Those who embraced it they regarded 
as " disturbers ; " and should they " be suffered to poison the 
rising generation or dispossess them of their portion in God 1 " 
If permitted to disseminate these views, others might also be allow- 
ed to propagate other views equally heretical ; and " should liberty 
be proclaimed to men of any religion to come and set up shops or 
schools of seduction among us," they asked ? If so, they reasoned, 
"what may we expect but that the curse devour this land?" 
" ' T is satan's policy to plead for an indefinite and boundless tolera- 
tion." 1 The duty of the church appeared to be clearly, either 
to reclaim their wandering brother from error, equivalent to crime, 
or turn him over to the civil power. The distinction set up was 
this : " Protestants ought not to persecute any, yet that Protestants 

i The quotations in the text are from a sermon of the Teacher of this 
Church — Thomas Shephard — preached in 1672, entitled "Eye-salve; 
or a watchword of our Lord Jesus Christ into his church, &c, pp. 24, 
25, 14. Though not in office until four years after the controversy with 
Mr. Gould commenced, yet his sermon well shows the views of the church. 


may punish Protestants cannot be rationally denied." 1 If to-day 
the lamentable error of the fathers of New England be regretted 
and condemned, let the vitality in their faith be honored. To 
them, spiritual things were not cold abstractions, but earnest, 
solemn realities. 

In 1655, about two months after Mr. Gould's refusal to offer his 
child in Baptism, he met the church, and discussed at length the 
question of infant baptism. No censure of him, simply for with- 
holding his child, appears however to have been then passed upon 
him. Mr. Gould, after this, left the meeting at the sprinkling of 
children, which proved a " great trouble to some honest hearts," 
who pressed him to stay. He complied with the request, but sat 
down during the ceremony, and this was objected to as an un- 
becoming gesture. 2 Besides ; he frankly told the church that he 
looked upon the rite as no ordinance of Christ; and this was 
judged speaking contemptuously and irreligiously of its emptiness 
and nullity. One of the members cried out, "Put him in the 
court — put him in the court:" but Mr. Symmes said, "I pray 
forbear such words." After much expostulation with the erring 
brother, the church admonished him. 

Meantime, in October, 1C56, Mr. Gould was presented to the 
county court "for denying baptism to his child," and tried De- 
cember 30, when the truth of the charge was established by the 
evidence of Deacons Stitson and Cutler, and Thomas Brigden. 
"The court admonished him of his error, and of his great danger 
of the Lord's displeasure to himself and peril to his seed, in case 
he persisted therein, instancing some scriptural examples, as that 
of Moses and some others, and gave him further time to consider 
of it until the next county court at Cambridge." He was present- 
ed again April 7, 1657. He appeared, June 20, " confessed his 

1 Preface to Willard's Ne Sutor Ultra Crepidam. 

2 There is no evidence that Mr. Gould interrupted the public service. 
This was not the case with some of the Baptist enthusiasts. Thus in 
1663, at the Middlesex county court, Christopher Goodwin of this town was 
convicted of " contempt and violence offered to the public dispensation of 
the ordinance of Baptism at Charlestovvn, throwing over the basin of 
water in the meeting-house and striking the constable in the meeting- 
house and striking him on the Lord's Day, and expressing himself in 
court with high contempt of that Holy Ordinance, and justifying himself 
in his former actions, and highly contemning the court." He was sen- 
tenced to pay ten pounds and to be openly whipped ten stripes. 


child to be unbaptized," and was again " solemnly admonished of 
his dangerous error therein." He was also called on the 24th of 
June, but did not appear. The court ordered that the clerk 
" should send an attachment for him to appear before any magis- 
trate, in case he did refuse upon notice given him to give £ 29 
bond for his appearance at the next court of assistants at Boston, 
and that he should pay the costs of court." 1 Mr. Gould was also 
presented for absence from the public ordinances; but he satisfied 
the court that he attended meeting constantly in Cambridge, and 
was not fined. 2 But the church called him to account for schism. 
"I told them," Mr. Gould says, " I did not rend from them for 
they put me away. Master Symmes was very earnest for another 
admonition for schism, which most of the church were ao-ainst; 
but it seems he set it down for admonition on a bit of paper." 

These proceedings naturally produced no other effect upon Mr. 
Gould than to add firmness to his faith. The next year the church 
again called him to account. Its records contain the following 
relation from the pen of Mr. Symmes : — 
" Upon the 6th of 4th, 1658. 

" Brother Thomas Gold according to the agreement of the church, the 
Lord's day before, was called forth to give an accounte of his large with- 
drawinge from the publick ordinances amongst us on the Lord's days. 
It was asked Brother Gold, whether he had any rule from God's worde 
so to doe, or whether it were not a manifest breach of rule and order of 
the Gospel ? 

" His answer several times was to this effecte, that he had not turned 
from any ordinance of God, but did attend the worde in other places. 

" It was then asked him whether he did not owne church covenant, as 
an ordinance of God, and himselfe in covenant with this church? 

"He answered he did, but we had cut him off, or put him away, by de- 
nying him the Lord's Supper, when onely he had been admonished, and 
so now had no more privilege than an Indian, and therefore he looked not 
now at himself, as a member of our church, but was free to goe any 
whither. He was likewise blamed, that having so often expressed his 
desire to attend any light that might help him in his judgment and practice, 
about children's baptisme ; that yet he should forbeare, and stay away, 
when he could not but knowe, that his pastor was speaking largely to 
that subject. He confest his wife told him of it : and being- asked how 
he could in faith partake of the Lord's supper, whilst he judged his own 
baptisme voide and null t He owned that it was so, as administered to 
him as a childe : but since God had given him grace, he now came to 
make use of it, and gett good by it. It being replyed, that a person 
owned by all, as gracious and fitt for supper, is not yet to be admitted to 
it, till baptized, he said little or nothing to it, but spoke divers things, 
generally offensive to the brethren, and would owne no fayling. Hence 

1 Middlesex Records. 2 Gould's Narrative in Backus, Vol. I. p. 366. 


after much time spent, the brethren consenting, he was admonished for 
his breaking away from the church in weighty schism and never having 
used any means to convince the church, of any irregular proceeding, but 
oontinueing peremptiously and contumaceously to Justine his schism." 

After a perseverance of years, Mr. Gould found sympathisers 
and associates. One of them was Thomas Osborn, a member of 
the church. He complained of the severity exercised towards the 
Quakers ; that the church gave no liberty to private brethren to 
prophesy ; that he did not find his own free spirit to come at the 
meetings ; and that the ministry was confined to learned men. 1 
Among others were William Turner and Robert Lambert from 
Dartmouth, England, and Richard Goodall of London. A pri- 
vate meeting, consisting of Gould and his wife, Osborn and his 
wife, and their friends from abroad, 2 was held at Mr. Gould's house 
on Sunday, November 8, 1663. This constituted a new offence 
and a far more heinous one than any that had been committed, for 
it made them " underminers of the chnrch." In these private 
meetings, " continued for many years," Willard, an enemy of 
them, writes, " their neighbors were drawn in ; and there were 
the churches villified, and ministers scoffed at, and means used 
to alienate men's hearts. And not only so, but they have published 
to the world that infant baptism is a nullity, that we are churches 
of unbaptised men and women, and have unbaptised officers ; by 
these pleas seeking to draw men off: and if this be their reduc- 
tion, it is in vain distinguished from destruction, and is properly 
seduction." 3 

The church called their schismatical brethren to account for 
these private meetings, carried on after they had been again and 
again admonished ; but at this stage, they had withdrawn from its 
communion, and denied its authority over them. Mr. Gould says : 
" They asked me if I was not a member of that church? I told 
them they had not acted toward me as a member, who had put me 
by the ordinances of Christ seven years ago — they had denied 
me the privilege of a member." Many meetings were held about 
this point. Mr. Gould gives the following life-like sketch of one 
of them : — 

"Mr. Symmes told the church that I was ripe for excommunication, 
and was very earnest for it : but the church would not consent. Then I 
desired that we might send to other churches for their help to hear the 

i Willard 's Ne Sutor. 2 Church Records. 3 N e Sutor. 


thing betwixt us, but Master Symmes made me this answer : ' We are 
a church of Christ ourselves, and you shall know that we have power to 
deal with you ourselves.' Then said Mr. Russell, ' we have not gone 
the right way to gain this our brother, for we have dealt too harshly with 
him.' But still Master Symmes pressed the church to excommunicate 
me. Mr. Russell said, ' There were greater errors in the church in the 
apostles' time and yet they did not so deal with them.' Mr. Symmes 
asked him what they were. He said, ' How say some of you that there 
is no resm-rection of the dead.' Mr. Symmes was troubled and said, ' I 
wonder you will bring this place of Scripture to enconrage him in his 
error.' Mr. Symmes was earnest for another admonition. Then stood 
up Solomon Phipps and said, ' You may clap one admonition on him 
upon another, but to what end, for he was admonished about seven years 
ago.' Mr. Symmes said, 'Brother! do you make such alight matter 
of admonition to say, ' clap them one upon another ! Doth not the 
apostle say, after the first and second admonition reject an heretick ? 
Therefore there might be a second admonition.' It was answered, 'It 
was a hard matter to prove a man an heretic, for every error doth not 
make a man a heretic' Mr. Symmes said, 'It was not seven years 
ago, nor above three since I was admonished, and that was for schism/ 
A brother replied and said, ' It was seven years since I was admonished/ 
On that there was some difference in the church what I was admonished 
for. Mr. Symmes then pulled a bit of paper out of his poeket and said 
' This is that he was admonished for, and that was but three years 
since.' Brother Phipps asked him, ' When that paper was writ, for he 
never heard of that admonition before.' He answered, ' He set it down 
for his own memory.' Then he read it, that it was for schism and 
rending from the church." l 

After a few more words respecting the time of admonition, this 

last meeting of Mr. Gould with the church broke up. Soon,, nine 

Baptists taking council of " able and godly" friends, embodied 

themselves on the 28th of May, 1665, into a church , — knowing, 

writes Mr. Gould, " it was a breach of the law of the country." 

On hearing of this proceeding, the church, July 9, sent Deacons 

Lynde and Stetson to Gould, and Osborn and his wife, requesting 

an interview the next Sabbath. The deacons reported a negative 

answer, July 16. The records say : — 

" Bro. Gold said he should not come, and if our church had anything 
to say against him, they should acquaint the society with it to which he 
was then joyned : saying also that he was no member of our church : and 
said, your church hath nothing to do with me. Br. Osburn said that he 
had given his reasons to the church formerly why he could not hold com- 
munion with it, viz. : because of infant baptism. 2. Our allowing none 
but such as had human learning to be in the ministry. 3. Our severe 
dealing with those of a contrary judgment from us. And therefore said he 
should not come to the church. Our sister Osburn's answer was that she 
desired not to continue with the church, but would be dismissed which 
way they would, and that she could not come to the church, she should 
sin against her conscience if she did." 

1 Backus, Vol. I. p. 367. 


The chnrch sent a similar message again, but received the same 
reply. It then resolved, on the 23d, that if nothing of more than 
ordinary weight did fall out in the interim, the brethren and sister 
should, without further debate, be excommunicated the next 
.Lord's Day. " Nothing of repentance intervening," they were 
^accordingly "excommunicated for their impertinency in their 
rschismatical withdrawing from the church and neglecting to hear 
'the church." 1 Henceforth the church were charged to abstain 
from all communion with them in spiritual things, and also in 
civil things farther than the necessities of common life required. 
'They were enjoined not to eat with them or drink with them that 
they might be ashamed. The excommunicates were as publicans 
and heathens. 2 

This completed the action of the church. Though it partook 
■of persecution, yet in its moderation and patience, it evinced a 
tetter spirit than characterized the times. 

The Baptists continued to hold meetings; and Richard Russell, 
a magistrate, -issued a warrant, August 20, 3 to the constables to 
ascertain where they assembled, to require them to attend the es- 
tablished worship, and in case of refusal, to return their names and 
places of residence to the next magistrate. Being summoned to 
appear before the Court of Assistants, they presented their church 
covenant, but were convicted of " a schism atical rending from the 
communion of the churches," and of" setting up a public meeting 
in opposition to the ordinances of Christ." They were then "sol- 
emnly charged not to persist in such pernicious practices." The 
Baptists still held meetings, and were summoned before the Gen- 
eral Court, October 11 ; and among other things, to answer to the 
charge of " celebrating the Lord's supper by an excommunicated 
person." Here also they declared it to be their intention to per- 
sist in their mode of worship. The court pronounced them "no 
orderly church assembly," guilty " of high presumption against 
the Lord and his holy appointment, and of breaking the " peace of 
this government." The sentence was : — 

" That Thomas Gould, Thomas Osborn, Edward Drinker, William 
Turner, and John George, such of them as are freemen, to be disfran- 
chised, and all of them upon conviction before any one magistrate or 

] Church Records. 2 Cambridge Platform, Chap. XIV. 

3 Backus, Vol. I. p. 371. 


court, of their further proceeding herein, to he commanded to prison until 
the general Court shall take further order with them." 

The Baptists were presented, April 17, 1666, at the County 
court, Cambridge, and Gould, Osborn and George fined four 
pounds each, and ordered to give bonds to appear before the next 
court of assistants. On refusal they were imprisoned. A special 
General Court, September 11, ordered them to be released on 
paying fines and costs. 

Heretofore, heresy had been dealt with by the penalties of the law, 
enforced by councils and synods. The General Court resolved, 
(March 7, 1668,) to try another process, namely, to afford the 
Baptists " an opportunity of a full and free debate of the grounds 
of their practice." They appointed a day for a public discussion, 
and required Thomas Gould, John Farnum, senior, and Thomas 
Osborn, " in his majesties name," to be present. 

It is not difficult to imagine the stir this announcement made in 
a community whose intellectual activity spent itself on theology. 
The fourteenth of April, 1668, is a memorable day. The people 
leave secular pursuits, and gather, in great numbers, in the meet- 
ing-house. Six reverend Elders, 1 renowned for their learning, 
dialectic skill, and soundness of doctrine, and selected to conduct 
on one side the discussion, are in the desk ; and near them, the 
governor and the magistrates. On the other side are the few 
Baptists who are so heroically braving the popular storm, with 
three zealous brethren from the neighbor church of Newport to 
aid them, — feeling strong, not in the possession of human learn- 
ing, but in the approvings of conscience. Some present sympa- 
thize with them ; but the majority look with pride upon their rev- 
erend champions, and with scorn upon the humble heretics, and 
even talk of the latter in derision. Of one they say, " Cobbler, 
you had better stick to your last ; " of another, " If you are fit for 
minister, we have but fooled ourselves in building colleges ; " of a 
third, " You are a wedder-dropped shoemaker." 2 The discussion 
does not end until the close of the second day. The debate, just 
as it was taken down in short hand, still exists in its pristine fresh- 

1 The six ministers were John Allen, Thomas Cobbett, John Higginson, 
Samuel Danforth, Jonathan Mitchell, and Thomas Shephard. The Bap- 
tists were Messrs. Gould, Russell, Turner, Johnson, Bowers, Trumble, 
Drinker, and Farnum. 2 These expressions are in Willard's Ne Sutor. 



ness. It is doubtless rich in the theological lore of the time, — 
propositions drawn out into divisions and subdivisions, doctrine 
dissected with patient minuteness, scripture proof arrayed in op- 
pressive abundance, with due mixture of improvement, exhortation 
and denunciation, — all which, though dry and husky food now, 
was " as the sweet manna of heavenly wisdom " 1 to the Puritan 
mind. I prefer to leave it, with its argument for and against in- 
fant baptism, in impartial oblivion, and only to quote the humilia- 
ting confession of the Great and General Court, " That the effect 
thereof had not been prevalent with them (the Baptists) as they 
could wish." 

And now authority had exhausted its resources. On the 7th of 
May, the Court summoned Gould and his associates to hear from 
their own lips whether the means used had effected their conver- 
sion, if not to apply " a mete effectual remedy" to " so dangerous 
a malady." The result appears in a sentence, as tyrannical as 
it is interminable, in which their offences, old and new, are detail- 
ed at length. In open court they had asserted their former prac- 
tice to have been according to the mind of God, and that nothing 
they had heard had convinced them to the contrary. The sen- 
tence goes on : — 

" All which to allow would be the setting up a free school of Seduction 
into the ways of error and casting- off the government of Christ Jesus in 
his own appointment with a high hand ; and, opening the door for all sorts 
of abominations to come in among us, to the disturbance not only of our 
ecclesiastical enjoyments but also contempt of our civil order and the au- 
thority here established, doth manifestly threaten the dissolution and ruin 
both of the peace and order of the churches and the authority of this 
government, which our duty to God and the country doth oblige us to 
prevent by using the most compassionate effectual means to attain the 
same: all which, considering, together with the danger of disseminating 
their errors, and encouraging presumptuous irregularities by their exam- 
ple, should they continue in this jurisdiction : This court do judge it 
necessary that they be removed to some other part of this country or else- 
where : and accordingly doth order, that the said T. Gold, W. Turner 
and J. Farnham, sen'r, do, before the 20th of July next, remove them- 
selves out of this jurisdiction." 

If found within the jurisdiction after July 20, they were to be 
committed to prison " without bail or mainprize," until they gave 
security to depart from the colony. The keepers of all prisons 
were enjoyned not to allow more than two persons, at any one 
time, to visit them. At this time Mr. Gould was undergoing im- 

1 Newell's Church Gathering. 


prisonment for the non-payment of a fine. He was released in order 

that he might prepare for banishment. In addition, the court 

ordered that no meeting should be held, or ordinance administered, 

previous to July 20. 

The Baptists preferred close confinement to exile. After eleven 

weeks imprisonment, they addressed, October 14, 1688, to the 

Governor and to the General Court the following touching letter : 

" Honored Sirs : 

" After the tenders of our service according- to Christ, his command to 
your selves and the country, we thought it our duty and concernment to 
present your honors with these few lines to put you in remembrance of 
our bonds : and this being the twelfth week of our imprisonment, we 
should be glad if it might be thought to stand with the honor and safety 
of the country, and the present government thereof, to be now at liberty. 
For we doe hereby seriously profess, that as far as we are- sensible or know 
any thing of our own hearts, we do prefer their peace and safety above 
our own, however we have been resented otherwise : and wherein we 
differ in point of judgment, we humbly beseech you, let there be a 
hearing with us, till you shall reveal otherwise to us ; for there is a spirit 
in man and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding, 
therefore if we are in the dark, we dare not say that we do see or under- 
stand, till the Lord shall clear things up to us. And to him we can ap- 
peal to clear up our innocence as touching; the government, both in your 
civil and church affairs. That it never was in our hearts to think of 
doing the least wrong to either : but have, and, we hope, by your assist- 
ance, shall always endeavor to keep a conscience void of offence towards 
God and men : And if it shall be thought meet to afford us our liberty, 
that we may take that care, as becomes us, of our families, we shall en- 
gage ourselves to be always in a readiness to resign up our persons to 
your pleasure. Hoping your honors will be pleased seriously to consider 
our condition, we shall commend both you and it to the wise disposing 
and blessing of the Almighty, and remain your honors faithful servants hs 
what we may. Tho : Gould, 

Will: Turners- 
John Farnum." 1 

These proceedings excited strong sympathy in favor of the 
Baptists, both at home and abroad. A petition in their behalf, 
was presented to the court, representing that their condition had 
" sadly affected the hearts of many sober and serious Christians, 
and such as neither approve of their judgment or practice, 
especially considering that the men are reputed godly, and of a 
blameless conversation ; and the things for which they seem to 
suffer seem not to be moral, unquestioned, scandalous evils, but 
matters of religion and conscience; not in things fundamental, 
plain and clear, but circumstantial, more dark and doubtful, 

1 The original of this letter is in the Massachusetts Archives. 


wherein saints are wont to differ, and to forbear one another in 
love, that they be not exposed to sin for conscience' sake." 
They pray the court to relieve them, and " seriously consider " 
whether an "indulgence" "pleaded for and practised by con- 
gregational churches," be not more effectual than other ways, 
always grievous and seldom successful. 

This petition was signed by sixty-six individuals; x but the court, 
October 14, 1668, declared that it contained many reproachful 
expressions, and called the signers to account. Some of them 
were fined. Two, Benjamin Sweetser and Joshua Atwater, who 
went round with " so scandalous and reproachful " a document, 
were fined severely. Another appeal came from abroad. Robert 
Mascal, the friend of Willoughby and Leverett, wrote to Cap- 
tain Oliver, one of the signers, an eloquent letter against this per- 
secution. " Strive, I beseech you," he said, " with God by 
prayers, and use all lawful ways and means, even to your greatest 
hazard, that those poor men may be set free; 2 for be assured that 
this liberty of conscience, as we state it, is the cause of God." 
Twelve dissenting ministers of London sent over a similar appeal. 

The Baptists, however, were imprisoned over a year. In 1670 
Mr. Gould was at liberty, and his society met at Noddle's Island. 
A warrant was this year issued to apprehend them there. The 
Baptists increased : five lived at Woburn, where John Russell, 
senior, " a gracious, wise and holy man," preached to them. In 
1672 the court renewed the law dooming to banishment " every per- 
son who should openly condemn or oppose the baptism of infants." 
They, however, enjoyed a respite of six years from 1673 to 1679, 
during which period Mr. Gould (1675) died, and the church re- 
moved to Boston. In 1678 they decided to build a church, but 
moved cautiously, giving out, as the work went on, Willard 
writes, that "it might be a warehouse, or a brewhouse," and "so 
proceeded until it became a meeting house," and was " met in 
(February 15, 1679), on Lord's days. The General Court, how- 
ever, met the case by a special law, that none should build or use 
a house of public worship without license : and that every house 
so used three times should be forfeited with the land on which it 
stood. The Baptists accordingly refrained from worshiping in it 
until protected by an order from the King. But the General 

1 A large number were from this town. 2 Benedict, Hist. Vol. I. p. 395. 


Court again forbad them; and March 8, 1680, by its order the 
door was nailed, and a paper put upon it inhibiting all persons 
from opening it at their peril. The next Lord's day the society 
held their meeting in the yard, but the General Court called them 
to account for it, and through the Governor admonished them, 
and charged them not. to meet again. The church did not regard 
this prohibition, but continued their meetings, and at length the 
General Court ceased its persecutions. This society is now the 
First Baptist Church of Boston. 

This period was a time of persecution of the Quakers. The 
leading member of this sect, in this town, was Benanuel Bowers. 
Bishop characterizes him as " a tender friend;" and accuses the 
magistrates of casting him into prison, and fining him five pounds 
for carrying milk to a Quaker woman in jail. At the county court, 
June 19, 1656, held in this town, he was presented for absenting 
himself from the ordinance of Baptism, convicted, admonished, 
and ordered to pay the expenses of the court. A few years later, 
October 16, 1663, he was again convicted of irregular attendance, 
and " two several times " of entertaining Quakers in his family. On 
his examination, he affirmed " that the Spirit of God was a Chris- 
tian's rule, and that David had no need of the word, nor never con- 
tradicted it, and that he speaks of no other law but that which was 
in his heart." Bowers fared severely : he had neglected the ordi- 
nances three months, and was fined for this, twenty pounds : he had 
twice entertained Quakers, and for this was fined four pounds, 
with the cost of court and three shillings to the witnesses. 

It is probable that there was a Quaker meeting at Mr. Bowers' 
house. For in the same month and at the same court, the wives of 
John Cole and William Osborn, were convicted of " meeting with 
sundry Quakers" there: the former was "admonished of her evil 
and sin therein, and warned to attend the worship of God on the 
Lord's days in the public assemblies, with more frequency and de- 
light :" and the latter was warned "to beware of the cursed tenets 
and practices of those heretics, and to return herself to the fellow- 
ship of God's people, and at 3ndance on his ordinances." 

Mr. Bowers continued, for years, to give employment to the 
courts, and was fined and imprisoned for not attending public wor- 
ship. He addressed a letter from Cambridge prison, dated Octo- 
ber 2, 1676, "to the Governor, Major Clarke and Edward Tyng, 


magistrates," arguing in favor of a mitigation of his sentence. 

He writes : — 

" I have attended the worship of God with more difficulty than some 
of those who had a hand in imprisoning me on that account, and at my 
constant imprisonment many seem troubled, but yet condemn me, saying 
I bring it upon myself and may help it if I will. The same might be 
charged upon most persons that ever suffered on a religious account. But 
how to help myself in this case, and answer it with a good conscience is 
out of my knowledge. I also am blamed because I would not suffer oth- 
ers to pay my fine for me. To such I answer, it is contrary to equity both 
on the courts part and mine, that others should suffer the penalty of 
the law for my transgression. And besides (according to common reason) 
there will be no end of the thing whilst life and estates last. But were it 
not that many are concerned in my punishment, who are not guilty of 
what I am charged with, and the same might be amended, and your law 
satisfied, I would not have troubled you at this time."i 

With the exception of the details in relation to the Baptists, the 

Church records 2 are not very full at this period. The following 

vote was passed, April 22, 1666. 

" A church act for the provision of the Lord's Table ; viz. : That at the 
beginning of every half year, each communicant shall bring in 12d to the 
deacons box for the half year that is to ensue respectively : and the year 
to begin (in order to this) the next sacrament day, which is May 6, 1666. 
Voted in the affirmative by the silence of the whole church." 

Rev. Zecheriah Symmes had been for thirty-five years the pastor 
of the church; and the latter, in 1669, began to look for another 
associate in the ministry with Mr. Shephard. Rev. John Oxen- 
bridge preached many Sabbaths to such acceptance, that the 
church 1669, October 8, thanked him for his labors, and requested 
him to continue them, with the view of becoming associate pastor. 
But Mr. Oxenbridge, of uncommon talents as a minister, accepted 
a call from the First Church of Boston. He died soon after, De- 
cember 28, 1674, aged sixty-five. 

Mr. Symmes died February 4, 1671, aged seventy-one years and 
ten months. The report of his speeches in the Trial of Anna 
Hutchinson, and the church record (see page 165) are the only me- 
morials of him that exist. He bore an active part in the theologi- 
cal controversies of his time. Mather commends him for " his 
ability, integrity and zeal :" as " one worthy the name of minister, 

1 Hutchinson's Mss., in Mass. Hist. Cabinet. 

2 On the reception of the news of the great fire of London, j£105 
was collected in the Charlestown Church for the relief of the sufferers. 
Hutchinson, Vol. I. p. 236. 


for he knew his Bible well, and he was a preacher of what he 
knew, and a sufferer for what he preached." The few memorials 
that remain of him, afford but slender material forjudging of his 
literary abilities. He says in his Will that " He never intended 
or prepared any thing to be put in print." He left his manuscript 
Sermons to his widow and son } and in his Will there is the follow- 
ing indication of his hope : — 

" First, I commit and commend what I am and have into the hands of 
my most loving Father and Gracious God, in Christ Jesus. My soul im- 
mediately upon my death to be received into those Heavenly mansions, 
which my blessed Saviour hath prepared for me, my body to be for a time 
(in a comely but not over costly manner,) interred in assured faith and 
hope, that my Saviour will in his time, raise up my vile body and make 
it like his glorious body, and uniting it to my soul, will continue them 
forever with himself in perfect blessedness and glory." 

The town voted that his grave should be covered and set comlie, 

" by a tomb stone, and the selectmen, February 27, 1673, passed 

the following order : — 

'' In pursuance of a Town order, the 6, 11, 72, that a tomb of stone 
should be erected over the grave of Mr. Zecheriah Symmes, deceased. 
It is ordered, that the three deacons and Lawrence Hammond, do treat 
and conclude with the stone cutter at Boston, for a meet stone for that 
use ; and that John Goodwin and Sam. Bickner, or some other mason be 
agreed with to build a stone work laid in lime, over the grave as soon 
as the weather will permit ; and that the three deacons be desired to 
see the same issued with all convenient speed." 

His epitaph is not legible : Dr. Mather says it mentions, that he 
lived forty-nine years and seven months with his virtuous consort, 
and contained the following couplet :" 

" A prophet lies under this stone : 
His words shall live, though he be gone."i 

1 Rev. Zecheriah Symmes had thirteen children, five sons and eight 
daughters. His widow Sarah survived him, and died in 1676. He names 
a brother William in his Will, of whom I know nothing. Of the sons : 

1, William was baptized Jan. 10, 1626, and died Sept. 22, 1691. 
'2, Zechariah was baptized Jan. 12, 1638, married Susannah Graves 
Nov. 18, 1669, had three sons and four daughters, and died March 22, 
1708. He was ordained minister of Bradford, Dec. 17, 1682. 

3, Timothy born 1640, and died 1641. 

4, Timothy born 1643, married Mary Nichols, Dec. 10, 1668, who 
died Sept. 18, 1669. He married Elizabeth Norton, Sept. 1671, and 
died July 4, 1678. I know nothing of the fifth son. 

Of the daughters : 

1, Sarah married Rev. Samuel Haugh, of Reading, who died March 
30, 1662. She married afterwards his successor, Rev. John Brock, who 
died in 1688. 


Johnson bestows great praise on the wife of Mr. Symmes. 
" Among," he says, " all the godly women that came through the 
perilous seas to war their warfare, the wife of this zealous teacher, 
Mrs. Sarah Symmes, shall not be omitted, nor any other, but to 
avoid tediousnesse ; the virtuous woman, indued by Christ with 
graces fit for a wildernesse condition, her courage exceeding her 
stature, with much cheerfulness, did undergoe all the difficulties of 
these times of straites, her God through faith in Christ, supplying 
all her wants with great industry, nurturing up her young children 
in the fear of the Lord, their number being ten both sons and 
daughters, a certaine sign of the Lord's intent to people this vast 


1670 to 1686. — Ladders. — The Schools. — A Flag. — Letter of Select- 
men. — Instructions to Selectmen. — Indian War. — Small Pox. — 
Freemen. — Names of Inhabitants. — Fort. — Dry Dock. — Free 
School. — The Stinted Pasture. — Military Companies. 

1670. At a town meeting, January 14, it was voted " that every 
householder should make or provide a ladder or ladders, to reach 
from the ground to his house top and upwards, and that such lad- 
ders should be ready and set up at such man's house, by the first 
day of the month of March next, ensuing this date." A year later, 
the selectmen affixed a penalty of five shillings for each neglect. 

2, Mary, baptized April 16, 1628, married Major Thomas Savage Sept. 
15, 1652, whose first wife was daughter of the celebrated Anne Hutch- 
inson, wbom Rev. Z. Symmes so zealously opposed. 

3, Elizabeth, baptized Jan. 1, 1629, married Hezekiah Usher about 1652, 
who was representative from Billerica. 

4, Huldah, baptized March 18, 1630, married, probably, Rev. Moses 
Fiske of Braintree. See Farmer. 

5, Hannah, baptized Aug. 22, 1632, married Captain William Davis, 
and had children, Margaret and Hannah. 

6, Rebecca, baptized Feb. 12, 1633, married Humphrey Booth, a mer- 
chant of this town. 

7, Ruth, baptized Oct. 12, 1635, married Edward Willis or Willie. 

8, Deborah, born Aug. 8, 1642, married Timothy Prout, Dec. 13, 1684. 


1671. Benjamin Thompson, a celebrated teacher, was engaged 
by the selectmen to keep school in town on the following terms : — 

" 1. That he shall be paid thirty pounds per annum by the 
town, and to receive twenty shillings a year from each particular 
scholar that he shall teach, to be paid him by those who send child- 
ren to him to school. 

" 2. That he shall prepare such youth as are capable of it for 
the college, with learning answerable. 

" 3. That he shall teach to read, write, and cypher. 

" 4. That there shall be half a years warning given mutu- 
ally by him and the town, before any change or remove on either 

Mr. Thompson retained the charge of the school until Novem- 
ber 7, 1674, when the selectmen, "with the advice and consent 
of Mr. Thomas Shephard and Mr. Joseph Brown," gave " Mr. 
Samuel Phipps of this town a call to the work." 

1672. Hitherto the highways were kept in repair by each man 
and boy above ten years old, laboring one day in a year on them. 
At the annual meeting, it was voted, " That the charge to be ex- 
pended on the highways this year shall be gathered of persons by 
way of rate, and ordered by the selectmen to rate persons, estates 
and heads." 

The town purchased of Benjamin Moor, as the vote reads, "one 
sarsnet flag for the Battery, being the kings colors ; for which he 
is to be free as to his own proper estate from the town rate for five 
years ensuing, this year 1672, inclusive. The country, county and 
church rates are not included in the town rate above mentioned." 

1673. The town voted to build and maintain a bridge " over 
the creek called Wapping Dock." The committee to build it con- 
sisted of" Mr. James Russell and Ensign John Cutler " 

The selectmen ordered "that the deacons of the church have 
power to impower Sergeant Lowden to gather in such church con- 
tributions as they shall see meet, and to agree with the said Low- 
den upon the town account, to be paid by the Town." 

A large trade was carried on this year in cedar posts, shingles and 
clapboards. The selectmen granted many of the inhabitants per- 
mission to cut the trees in Cedar Swamp, near Spot Pond ; and 
John Mousal was charged with the duty of inspecting " the num- 
ber and bigness" of the trees cut down. 


1674. For several years the selectmen took especial pains to 
have the boys orderly in the time of divine service. Persons were 
appointed to sit with them. This year they enforced the duty, by 
a stringent letter. The following is the record : — 

March 23, 1674. 
Gentlemen : 

The sense of the necessity of the inspection and government of youth 
at times of public worshipping of God in our meeting house, and finding 
that the way taken to that end the last year, through the care and dili- 
gence of the persons attending that work, did very much reach our end 
propounded, we are encouraged to proceed in the same way this year 
also. And accordingly request you respectively to take your turns in at- 
tending the said work, according to the method hereafter propounded, in 
which we do desire you to do your utmost, that all children and youth 
that are under age, may be as much within your inspection as the conveni- 
ence of seats will admit of. Not permitting them to scatter up and down 
in obscure places, when they may be from under a due observance. 
Wherein if need be you shall have the assistance of the constable. Your 
faithful attendance hereunto will doubtless be a service acceptable to God 
and to your brethren, remembering that to be a door keeper in the house 
of God was of high esteem with holy David. We further desire your 
care to prevent the disorderly running out of youth in time of public wor- 
ship. By order of the Selectmen, 

Laurence Hammond, Recorder. 

At a meeting " of the freemen," those present, the record says, 
"put in their votes for magistrates and other public officers, that 
are to be put to choice on the day of election, the governor and 
deputy governor excepted ; which votes were all sealed up in the 
presence of the freemen by the deputy, Mr. Joseph Lynde, and the 
constable, Daniel Smith, and delivered to the said deputy accord- 
ing to law." 

167-5. The selectmen built a watch-house on the common four- 
teen feet square, under their direction and the militia. 

From the year of the establishment of the Board of Selectmen, 
until this year, there is little said on the Records about its powers. 
The following "general instructions" were voted by the town, 
January 4 : — 

" 1. That the said selectmen do attend and execute all such wholesome 
orders as are already made, and do stand upon record in the Town books, 
and have not been altered or repealed by the inhabitants. 

" 2. That they do levy by way of rate upon the inhabitants of the town 
all necessary public charges, both civil and ecclesiastical for the said town, 
and appoint and impower meet persons for the collecting the same. 

" 3. That the meeting house, schoolhouse, and other public houses in the 
said town, be through inspection and order kept in good repair, and 
made fit and convenient for such publick uses as they are appointed to. 

" 4. That care be by them taken that all such poor persons and families 


■within the said town, as are really in want and incapable for providing for 
themselves, by age, sickness, or otherwise, be supplied and provided for. 

" 5. That for all other matters wherein the weal and common benefits of 
the towne may be promoted, the said selectmen have hereby liberty and 
power to make and execute all such orders, as to them shall seem meet 
and convenient, and to impose and levy fines upon all such the inhabit- 
ants who shall be found transgressing their said orders, — the fines so 
imposed not exceeding the limitation of the law of the colony. 

" 6. Provided it shall not be in the power of the said selectmen to sell or 
dispose any land or houses belonging to the inhabitants in generall, with- 
out the consent of the whole community, or the major part. 

" The above mentioned instructions were voted by the inhabitants, the 
day above said in the affirmative. 

Attest, L. Hammond, Recorder.'''' 

This year the celebrated Indian war, King Phillip's, was car- 
ried on with vigor by the colony. No skirmish took place with- 
in the borders of this town. One of its citizens, Capt. Samuel 
Hunting, raised a company of " Praying Indians," which mustered 
here, and in April was under orders to march to Chelmsford. But 
on the 21st of April, " about midday, tidings came by many mes- 
sengers, that a great body of the enemy" had attacked Sudbury. 
" Just at the beginning of the lecture there, (Charlestown,) as soon 
as these tidings came, Major Gooking and Mr. Thomas Danforth, 
(two of the magistrates) who were then hearing the lecture sermon, 
being acquainted herewith, withdrew out of the meeting house, and 
immediately gave orders for a ply of horse belonging to Captain 
Prentiss' troops, under conduct of Corporal Phipps, and the Indian 
Company under Capt. Hunting, forthwith to march away for the 
relief of Sudbury." 1 They reached Sudbury at night. 

In 1676 this company, having some English in it, performed 
efficient service. 

Under the date of October 13, 1675, Captain Laurence Ham- 
mond returned the following list of persons impressed for " this 
present expedition :" viz. : Samuel Fosdick, Edward Johnson Jr., 
Henry Swain, Zechary Ferris, Benjamin Lathrop, Jr., James 
Smith, Joseph Prat, Samuel Leman, William Burt, John Mousall, 
John Hawkins, Nathaniel Rand, John Trumble, Jr., Alexander 
Phillips, George Mudge, 15. And at the same time the names of 
six others of the company who absented themselves, " skulking 
from place to place, avoiding this immediate press." Of a tax 
levied, October 27, to carry on the war, the proportion of Boston 

1 Gooking, in Annals of American Antiquarian Society, pp. 510-512. 


was £ 100 ; Salem, £ 100 ; of Charlestown, £ 80, — the three high- 
est taxes. 

1676. This year the sufferings of the colony were great on ac- 
count of the war. Among other measures, the council ordered, 
March 23, commissioners to assemble at Cambridge, from many 
of the towns of Essex and Middlesex counties, to consider the ex- 
pediency of building " a line or fence of stocadoes or stones," from 
Charles River to the Merrimack. The project was abandoned. 

The following letter of the selectmen shows the energetic mea- 
sures, taken at home to aid such as were impressed to fight the 
Indians : — 

"To Samuel Pierce and Thomas Welch. 

" You are hereby desired and ordered (by virtue of an order of the gene- 
ral court,) to take care of and inspect the corn and husbandry of such men 
as are impressed into the service, who are destitute of sufficient help of 
their own to manage the same. And you are heTeby impowered to hire or 
impress men to labor therein, for the preventing damage thereunto. And 
the persons for whom they work, are, by said court order, to pay them 
eighteen pence a day for the said work, provided it doth not appear they 
have been negligent or unfaithful therein. This, you are desired forth- 
with to put in execution. And the like care is desired from you respecting 
all others that may be called forth into the service, until English and In- 
dian Harvest be over. 

" And you are to be allowed reasonable satisfaction for the time spent 
therein." By the Selectmen. 

L. Hammond. " 

The colony received from Ireland a contribution in aid of the 
sufferers by the Indian war. This was named the " Irish Chari- 
ty," and was distributed through the towns in proportion to their 
losses. A list taken Jan. 22, 1677, names the following towns. 
Charlestown, 29 families 102 persons, . £ 15.6.0 
Maiden, 14 " 52 " . 7.16.0 

Woburn, 8 " 43 " . 6.9.0 

This was paid in "meal, oatmeal, wheat, malt at eighteen shil- 
lings per barrel, butter at six-pence, and cheese four-pence per 

A tax made for supporting the war, assigned Boston, £ 300 ; 
Charlestown, £180; Watertown, .£45 ; Woburn, £25. 1 

1677. The town, during the Indian troubles, had been some- 
what tardy in contributing to the support of the college; and Mr. 
Manning, of Cambridge, appeared in its behalf. Whereupon, it was 

] New Hampshire Collections, Vol. III. p. 101, and Shattuck's Concord, 
p. 63. 



agreed by the Selectmen, "that Sergeant Lowden should be de- 
sired to go with him to quicken those who have not paid, that they 
do forthwith pay it in to Mr. Manning, on his order." 

The summer of this year several ships arriving from England, 
had the small pox on board ; and this disease soon spread with 
fearful ravages, through the town, sparing age, nor sex, nor sta- 
tion. It raged through the winter ; and February 4, the selectmen 
authorized Mr. Gerrish " to use his best endeavors to relieve such, 
by his advice and physic, that through God's providence may be 
visited with the small pox that does so prevail amongst us." The 
names of ninety-one persons are registered as having died of it, 
among them Rev. Thomas Shephard, and some of the most valued 
citizens. 1 Several hundred of the inhabitants had it. 2 

The Town Books contain the following record : 

" A list of the freemen in Charlestown, taken April 27, '77. 
Mr. Tho. Shepard, Samuel Pierce Jno. Scot, 

Lt. Thos. Hinchman, 
Jno. Whitman, 
Sam. Kettle, 
John Penticost, 
Tho. Rand, 
Lt. Josh. Ted, 
Lawr. Dowse, 
Mathew Smith, Sen., 
Mr. Jacob Green, Sen. 
Rich. Lowden, 
Nathauiel Cutler, 
George Fowle, 
Edw. Carrington, 
Jam. Miller, Jun., 
Christo. Goodwin, Jun. 
William Bullard, 
John Kent, 
Tho. Welch, 
Dan. Edmond's, 
William Symmes, 
L. F. Johnson, 
Peter Tufts, 
Laur. Hammond, 
Rich. Kettle, 
Thos. Chad well, 
William Davy, 

"Accepted at Gen. Court, 22-3 '77, and sworn at County Court 
Charlestown, 19-4 ! 77." 

This year a Dry Dock was built in this town. In 1667 the Gen- 
eral Court offered strong inducements to any who would make a 
" Dry Dock in Boston or Charlestown, fit to take in a ship of three 

Mr. Jos. Browne, 
Dea. Wm. Stitson, 
Mr. James Russell, 
Lieut. Rand Nichols, 
Edw. Wilson, 
Mr. Wm. Foster, 
Mr. Jno. Hayman, 
Wm. Clough, 
Tho. Carter, 
Sam. Carter, 
Nath. Hutchinson, 
Jno. Dowse, 
Mr. Jno. Phillips, 
Mr. Jno Blany, 
Robert Leech, 
Abzar Smith, 
Jos. Kettle, 
D. Aaron Ludkin, 
Edw. Brazier, 
Nathaniel Rand, 
Rich. Gardner, 
Richard Austin, 
Stephen Paine, 
D Jno. Cutler, 
Mr. Joseph Lyndes, 
Sam. Champny's, 

Solom. Phipps, 

Jno. Goodwin, 

Peter Frothingham, 

Nath. Frothingham, 

Sam'l. Frothingham, 

Isaac Fowle, 

Mr. Thomas Graves, 

Jno. Knight, 

Tho. White, 

Jno. Burrage, Sen., 

John Call, 

Mr. Sam. Nowell, 

Dea. Ward Mallon, 

Zech. Ferris, 

Mr. Edward Collins, 

Goodm. Langley, 

John Guppy, 

Sam. Dowse, 

Sam. Ward, 

Witt Johnson, 

John Gold, Sen., 

Thomas Lord, 

Rich. Stowers, 

Mr. Henry Phillips, 

Joseph Frost, 

John Farmer, 81. 

1 Town Records. 

2 Rev. J. B. Felt's Mss. 



hundred tons ;" and one was, that no others should build one for 
twenty-one years. The offer was renewed in 1668. The work 
was not done until this year, when James Russell and others, built 
one near Harris' Wharf, a short distance from the Navy Yard. 
I have not met with a description of this work, — evidently a great 
enterprise for the time. 

1678. The Records contain allusions to a fortification at the 
Neck, which was probably built during King Phillip's war. This 
year an agreement was made by a committee in behalf of the town, 
with John Call, to " repair the half moon by Jonathan Bunker's, 
for which he was to have forty shillings in town pay, as the coun- 
try rate is paid ;" and also to keep the whole work in repair for 
seven years. 

A law of the Colony obliged the towns to appoint tythingmen, 

and for a few years the inhabitants, or families, were divided into 

districts of ten or twelve families, each of which were " inspected " 

by this officer. Those in the following Record, marked by an * 

were the tythingmen : — 

" At a meeting of the Selectmen, March 11, 1677-8, chose the per- 
sons following for Tithingmen, and are to inspect the several families ex- 
pressed : 

Wid. Smith's House, 

*John Kent, 
Patrick Mark, 
Samuel Whittemore, 
Abraham Smith, 
Wid. White's House, 
Samuel Peirce, 
Goodman Bullard, 
Goodman Welch, 
Mr. Ward, 
James Mjller, 
Thomas Croswell, 
Goodman Brazier. 

*John Whittemore, alias 

*Robert Leach, 

Nathaniel Howard, 

John Foskett, 

John Ridland, 

William Crouch, 

Francis Shephard, 

Paul Wilson. 

John Mousall, 

Thomas Mousall's House, Thomas Hitt, 

John Fowle, 

Wm. Brown, Wid. Bennett, 

Goodman Goodwin, Sen., John Smith, 

Christopher Goodwin, 
John Bickner, 
Wid. Crouch, 
Samuel Pierce's House. 

*Solomon Phipps, 
Andrew Stimpson, 
Samuel Frothingham, 
John Lowden, 
Goodman Guppy, 
Benjamin Sweetser, 
Mr. Green, 
Increase Turner, 
Josiah Wood, 
Samuel Davis, 
Thomas Carter. 

*Mr. John Heyman, 
William Everlon, 

Thomas Joanes. 

*Samuel Pierce, alias 
*Peter Fowle, 
John Harris, 
George Fowle, 

William Hurry, 
Mr. Blaney's House, 
Benjamin Lathrop, 
Samuel Heyman, 
James Elson, 
Nathaniel Graves, 

James Smith. 

*Edward Wilson, 
Michael Long, 
Indigo Potter, 
John Coggin, 
Mrs. Jacobs & Hale, 
James Russell, 
Randall Nichols, 
Mrs. Cary Nathadiel, 
Widow Russell, 
William Stitson, 
John Drinker, 
Samuel Ballatt, 
John Cutler, Jun'r. 

^Richard Lowden, 
Jonathan Bunker, 
Goodman Richeson, 


John Call, 
Nath. Hutchinson, 
Peter Frothingham, 
Thomas White, 
Capt. Hudson, 
Edward Wyer, 



Nath'l Frothingham. 

"William Clough, 
Mr. Trumble, Sen., 
Josh. Edmonds, 
Mr. Baker, 
John Scott, 
Jacob Cole, 
Isaac Fowle, 
John Goodwin, 
Samuel Bickner, 
Thomas Shippie, 
John Betts. 

*Richard Taylor, 
John Parrock, 
Stephen Waters, 
John Candidge, 
Mr. Foster, 
Thos. Mousall, 
Wid. Bell's House, 
Mr. Martins, 
Samuel Seaverns, 
Mr. Phillips, 
Mr Brackenbury, 
Mr. King. 

*John Fosdick, 
John Ed master, 
Wid. Wadland, 
Daniel Smith, 
Joseph Royal, 
Samuel Leeman, 
William Vines, 
Theophilus Marsh, 
Richard Ford, 
Nathaniel Heman, 
Mr. Green's House, 
Mr. Davison. 

*Aaron Ludkin, alias 
*Zechary Johnson, 
Alexander Stuart, 
Daniel Edmonds, 
Widow Edmonds, 
Thomas Smith, 
Widow Johnson, 
Nathaniel Johnson, 
Nathaniel Rand, 
Mr. Sanditbrd, 
Goodwife Barrett, 
John Simpson, 
Joseph Pratt. 

*Lieut. Tedd, alias 

^Lawrence Dowse, 
James Miller, 
Thomas Rand, 
Samuel Lord, 
Thomas Larkin's House, 
Capt. Henchman, 
Mr. More, 
Capt. Hammond, 
Thomas Peachy, 
John Whitman, 
Edward Johnson Jr., 
Robert Manser. 

*Samuel Dowse, 
Mr. Edw'd Collins, 
Widow Dean, 
Thomas Barber, 
Wid. Spencer, 
Joseph Bachelor, 
John Edes, 
Goodman Langley, 
Thomas Adams, 
John Newell, 
Joseph Kettle, 
John James, 
William Marshall. 

*James Cary, alias 
*Henry Balcome, 
Wid. Phipps, 
Thomas Tarbell, 
Henry Swain, 
Isaac Johnson, 
Walter Allen, 
Samuel Lynde, 
Thos. Lynde's House, 
Abell Benjamin, 
Mr. Lynde, 
Barna. Davis, Jr., 
Goodman Smith. 

*John Penticost, alias 
*Sam.uel Kettle, 
Mr. Joseph Lynde, 
John Walker, 
Thomas Tuck, 
Thomas Orton, 
Wm. Wellstead, 
JZechariah Long, 
Edward Johnson, Sen., 
John Roy, 
Jere. Connoway, 
Thomas Jenner, 
Thomas Brigden. 

*Thomas Lord, 

John Baxter, 
John Kettle's House, 
Deacon Cutler, 
Mathew GrifFen, 
Mr. Knell, 
Serjeant Kittle, 
Jonathan Kittle, 
Nathaniel Kittle, 
Widow Roper. 

*Elias Rowe, 
Mrs. Trance's House, 
Mrs. Graves, 
John Bacon, 
Templars House, 
Thomas Chadwell, 
Widow Long, 
John Knights, 
Samuel Carter, Sen., 
Luke Perkins, 
Benjamin Mirick, 
John Bu nidge, 
Widow Larkin. 

*WMiam Dady, 
William Jennison, 
John Davis, 
Mr. Thomas Graves, 
John Cole, Jun'r, 
Mrs. Russell's Houses, 
John Trumble, 
Timothy Symmes, 
Mrs. Shephard, 
Mrs. Nowell, 
Richard Sutton. 

*Edward Carrington, alias 
*Samuel Hunting, 
John Poor, 
Nathaniel Cutler, 
Zecheriah Pheres, 
John Douse's House, 
Widow Heydon, 
Mrs. Allin, 
John Paitfield, 
Samuel Phipps, 
Mr. Phillips' House, 
John Swett, 
Goodman Astings. 

*Mr. William Symmes, 1 
John Gould, Sen., 
John Gould, Jun, 
William Rogers, 
Thomas Cutler, 
Matthew Smith, 

1 This tythingman and the two following were not appointed until 
April 9 : these families resided in what is now Stoneham, Maiden and 


Thomas Gery, Richard Dexter, George Blanchard, 

Richard Gardner, Thomas Wheeler, Samuel Blanchard, 

Searletts Farm. Fa. Mellin's House, Thomas Shepard, 

Widow Lee, Goodman Mirrible, 

*Stephen Paine, Edward Barlow, Daniel Whittemore, 

Goodman Stowers, Widow Bray. Walter Adams, 

Widow Barrett, ■ Thomas Mitchell. 

Nicholas Hooker, *Peter Tufts, Senior, 

1679. The ministers complained, in their sermons, of the 
general decay of schools, and an effort was made to restore them. 
This year a free school was established in this town, and Samuel 
Phipps was appointed teacher. The vote is : — 

" March 10, 1679. It was put to vote to the Inhabitants of this town 
whither they would make a free school in this town by allowing fifty 
pounds per annum in or as money and a convenient house for a school 
master who is to teach Latin, writing, cyphering and to perfect children 
in reading English. It was passed with a general vote by the holding 
up of their hands. As attests James Russell." 

" Agreed that the chimneys of the town house be taken down 
and rebuilt without the house, and that the middle floor be taken 
down, and the hill be fenced in." Two chimneys of nine feet width 
within the jams were substituted, and for this work, including un- 
derpining and plastering, the masons were to receive £& 10s in 
money, or corn at money price. 

1680. The General Court, October 13, authorized Daniel 
Gookin, James Russell and Laurence Hammond to " divide the 
trained band " of this town into two companies, and allowed Cap- 
tain Hammond to choose the one he wished to command. This 
committee reported the next February that they had made as equal 
and convenient division as they could, and that each company 
consisted of about one hundred men. Richard Sprague was ap- 
pointed to command one of the companies. 

This year the Middlesex Regiment, under the command of 
Major Daniel Gookin was divided into two regiments. " The 
towns and companies of Charlestown, Cambridge, Watertown, 
Cambridge Village, Woburn, Maiden and Redding, with the 
troop under the command of Captain Thomas Prentice," com- 
posed one regiment and continued under the command of Major 

1681. The Selectmen, October 8, voted, "That on the 10th 
inst. being a training day whereon more service than ordinary is 
to be performed by reason of Boston gentlemen that intend to give 
the Soldiery of this Town an amicable visit, that there be a pound 


of powder given to every musqueteer belonging to, and train- 
ing under, Captain Laurence Hammond and Captain Richard 
Sprague, out of the town stock." 

1682. The Selectmen ordered "that there be a careful watch 
of two persons, with a ward on the Sabbath day, to be kept in this 
town until further orders, which watch and ward is for the pre- 
vention of fire, or a timely discovery of it." 

A school house was built " twelve feet square and eight feet 
stud within joints, with a flattish roof, and a turret on it for the 
bell, and likewise a mantel-tree of twelve feet long." The expense 
of it — the carpenter work — was thirteen pounds. The masons 
were to " build up chimneys and underpin the house, and to ceil 
the walls with clay and brick, and to point the roof with lime," 
for five pounds. 

Thomas Foskitt had permission to set a lime-kiln on the 

1683. The Selectmen voted, March 2, to pay to Rev. Thomas 
Shepard x one hundred pounds in money forthwith, " toward the 
purchasing of a hou?e for him to dwell in." 

1684. There appears to have been much controversy, for a 
few years, about the division of the Stinted Pasture. The pro- 
prietors, Oct. 30, 1682, voted to sell a part of it to defray the ex- 
pense of its management, and five acres were sold to Deputy Gov- 
ernor Danforth. This caused dissatisfaction, and this year, (July 
8, 1684) there is an agreement on the records in relation to it. 
This large tract (now Somerville) was lotted out and confirmed to 
proprietors at a town-meeting, dated April 15, 1685, 2 reserving 
for the use of the town forever the piece of land called the Com- 
mon, 3 with all the range-ways and watering-places, and places for 
quarries, sand and gravel." Much difficulty attended this divis- 
ion. James Russell and other proprietors, in a petition, dated 
Oct. 15, 16S6, state, that " some of the inferior sort of inhabitants 
among us, who have not, nor never had any right or title to the 
said tract of land," disturbed them and threatened to always hin- 
der its improvement. 

1685. Sewall, in his Journal, October 5, writes, that though 
it was a cloudy day, yet the Artillery Company of Boston came 

1 This name, in preceding pages, is incorrectly written. 2 Report, 
dated Mav 9, 1768. 3 Part of the Common is now in Charlestown. 


over to this town, and the two companies trained. " We divide 
into two and with Cambridge Artillery, oppose them upon the hill 
in prospect of the harbor. Mr. Cotton Mather prayed with us in 
the morning and at breaking up. Captain Wade, with his troop 
there — the Major General with a small guard. Major Richards, 
Mr. Treasurer, Mr. Nowell, Cook dine with us at Jackson's. 
Mr. Cotton Mather craves a blessing and returns thanks. Got 
over about dark." He has, October 21, the following significant 
record : " Captain Jno. Phillips finally refuses to be treasurer : 
the magistrates choose Mr. Nowell, but the deputies would have 
it done by the freemen, that their privileges may not be dipt as 
many of them have of late been." 


Ecclesiastical History 1670 to 1686. — Thomas Shepard. — Galleries. — 
Thomas Gilbert. — Election Sermon. — Joseph Browne. — Death of 
Thomas Shepard. — Thomas Shepard, Jr. — Daniel Russell. — Charles 

Upon the death of Rev. Zechariah Symmes, the whole duties of 
the ministry devolved upon Mr. Shepard, who continued the reg- 
ular minister until his death. In addition to his salary, the Select- 
men, March 31, 1670, authorized the deacons, " to gratify any 
minister called in to help Mr. Shepard, on occasion of his weak- 
ness ;" and also allowed him ten pounds, " in reference to 
entertaining" those who had helped him. A further grant was 
made November 9, of twenty pounds, " one half towards charges 
the last year." 

In 1672, 2 the meeting-house was repaired, and enlarged " by 

i In 1671, Rev. Thomas Gilbert, late pastor of the First Church of 
Topsfield died here, October 26, 1673. He came to this town on his ar- 
rival in New England. The following epitaph, differing somewhat with 
the copy in Mather's Magnalia, I found in a manuscript, written probably 
at the time, of his death, and among papers collected by Dr. Morse, and 
kindly loaned by Richard C. Morse, Esq. 

" Here is interred the body of the reverend, sincere, zealous, able, and 
faithful servant of Christ, Mr. Thomas Gilbert, borne at St. Andrews, in 


new building without the limits" of the house; and in 1675, the 

galleries were rebuilt. The following vote appears in relation to 

the latter : 

" February 1. Agreed then with John Fosdick and Nathaniel Froth- 
ingham, to provide all timber, and build three galleries, one in the front, 
and one on each side in the meeting-house ; and to make two seats, one 
before the other, in the galleries, and to make a pair of stairs to each gal- 
lery, and to alter the lower stairs going up to the men's galleries, so as 
may be most convenient for an outlet ; the side galleries to ran from the 
front gallery home to the opposite wall ; the town to find boards and nails, 
and to pay for the said work, when completely finished, forty-six pounds 
in town pay ; and if it shall appear a hard bargain, twenty shillings more." 

In May, 1672, Mr. Shepard preached the Election Sermon, 

which was much praised by his contemporaries. Extracts from it 

have been given (see page 162) ; the following shows the regard he 

felt for Education : — 

" Let the schools flourish ; this is one of the means whereby we have 
been, and may be still preserved from a wilde wilderness state, through 
God's blessing upon the same, and from becoming a land of darkness, and 
of the shadow of death. Cherish them therefore, and the college in es- 
pecial : and accordingly, that there may be a seasonable (while affections 
are warm,) and a faithful improvement of the contribution of the new edi- 
fice there, and what else is needful for the encouragement and advance- 
ment of learning in that precious society ; the fall and sinking whereof 
(which the Lord forbid) 1 should look at as presaging the ruin of this land 
also. Let it never want a benign respect for the flourishing of that dear 
nursery; lest otherwise there come to be either no ministry, or an illit- 
erate (in that respect in former times accounted) a scandalous and insuffi- 
cient ministry, neither burning nor shining lights." 

In 1675, Rev. Joseph Browne, son of a prominent merchant of 
Salem, William Browne, was employed as an associate minister 
with Mr. Shepard : for, on the 23d of February, the town voted 
to hire for him " a new dwelling-house, stable and the pump," for 

Scotland, Aug. 5, 1610. Some time pastor of the Church at Chedle, in 
Cheshire, in England. And afterward pastor of the Church at Eling, 
in Middlesex : from whence he was (the first of the ministers in England 
that suffered deprivation, in the cause of non-conformity anno 1662,) driv- 
en to New England, where he became pastor of the church at Topsfield : 
From whence he did (being wearied with many burdens of old age and of 
other sufferings,) remove into Charlestown, in order to his everlasting 
rest, which, in a short time from thence he departed unto, viz. : October 
26, 1673. His beloved wife, Sarah Gilbert, (the daughter of Mr. Thomas 
Sharp, in Yorkshhe,) and with whom he lived in the honorable estate of 
marriage, thirty-eight years, hath, to the memorial of her dear husband 
affixed this monument. 

Omnia praetereunt prseter amore deum, 

These things all pass forever (vain world away,) 

But love to God, this, this endures for aye." 


sixteen pounds a year. Rev. Daniel Russell, son of Richard Rus- 
sell, who graduated at Harvard in 1669, preached also occasionally. 

Mr. Shepard, to the close of his life, was sanguine as to the 
efficiency of force to suppress heresy. Sewall in his Diary has a 
passage that shows how he felt on this point, " December 18, 
1676, Mr. Rowlandson and Mr. Willard came and visited my 
father. While they were here Mr. Shepard also came in, dis- 
coursed of reformation, especially of disorderly meetings of Qua- 
kers and Anabaptists. Thought if all did agree, i. e. magistrates 
and ministers, the former might easily be suppressed, and that then 
the magistrate would see reason to handle the latter, as to what 
it might injure the county in respect of England." 

In 1677, Mr. Shepard visited one of his flock who was sick 
with the small-pox, caught the disorder, and died, December 22, 
in his forty-third year. His contemporaries wrote in glowing 
terms of his character. " He was," one of them writes, " a very 
holy man, much distinguished for his erudition, his various virtues, 
and winning manners; a learned theologian and eminent preacher : 
in his faith and life a true bishop : a meritorious promoter of the 
cause of letters, having been a watchful guardian of Harvard Col- 
lege, and a primary fellow of the academical government." " The 
whole country was filled with lamentations upon his decease : " 
and "many expressed their feelings in the language of one, 
(President Oakes,) of the many elegies bestowed upon him." 

" Next to the tears our sins do need and crave 
I would bestow my tears on Shepard 's grave." i 

The following epitaph was engraved upon his tomb-stone, 
which, though extravagant, affords evidence that he was held in 
the highest esteem and affection by his contemporaries : 

"D. 0. M. S. 

Repositae sunt hie Reliquiae Thomas Shepardi, 

Viri Sanctissimi, 

Eruditione, Virtute, Omnigena, Moribusq ; suavissimis Ornatissimi ; 

1 Rev. Thomas Shepard left a widow, one son, who succeeded him as 
pastor, and two daughters, Anna and Margaret Anna, born Sept. 8, 
1663, married Daniel Quincy, and their son John, born June 1, 1685, was 
the person after whom John Quincy Adams was named. (See Budding- 
ton's History, p. 219.) She was his maternal ancestor. After Mr. 
Quincy 's death, which was in 1690, she married Rev. Moses Fiske of 
Braintree, — his second wife. 


Theoligi Consultissimi, 
Concionatoris Eximii : 
Qui Filius fuit Thomas Shepardi Clarissimus, 
Memoratissimi Pastoris olim Ecclesiae Cantabrigiensis ; 
Et in Ecclesia Caroliensi Presbyter docens ; 
Fide ac Vita Verus Episcopus : 
Optime de Re Literaria Meritus : 
Qua Curator Collegii Harvardini vigillantissimus ; 
Qua Municipii Academici Socius Primarius. 
Ta tov Ji/aov JToigou, ov ia euvrov Zi]TO)V. 
In D. Jesu placide obdormivit, Anno 1677. Dec. 22. 
.ZEtatis suae 43. 
Totius Novanglise Lachrymis Defletus ; 
Esq; etUsq; Deflendus." 

" Let Fame no longer boast her antique things, 

Huge Pyramids and Monuments of kings: 

This cabinet that locks up a rare gem, 

Without presumption may compare with them. 

The sacred reliques of that matchless one 

Great Shepard, are enshrin'd below this stone. 

Here lies entomb'd an heavenly orator, 

To the great King of Kings embassador : 

Mirror of virtues magizine of arts, 

Crown to our heads and Loadstone to our hearts : 

Harvard's great son, and father too beside, 

Charlestown's just glory and New England's pride : 

The church's jewel, Colledge's overseer, 

The clergy's diadem without a Peer : 

The poor man's ready friend, the blind man's eyes, 

The wandring wildred soul's conductor wise : 

The widow's solace, and the orphan's father, 

The sick man's visitant, or cordial rather : 

The general benefactor, and yet rare 

Engrosser of all good ; the man of prayer : 

The constant friend, and the most cheerful giver, 

Most orthodox divine and pious liver : 

An oracle in any doubtful case, 

A master-piece of nature, art and grace. 

In this bed lye repos'd his weary limbs ; 

His soul's good company for Seraphims. 

If men be dumb in praising of his worth, 

This stone shall cry, for shame ! and set it forth." 

President Oakes delivered a Latin Oration before the Alumni 
of Harvard on the occasion of his death, and composed an Elegy 
upon him of fifty-two stanzas. It commences as follows: 

" Oh ! that I were a Poet now in grain ! 

How would I invocate the Muses all 

To deign their presence, lend their flowing- Vein ; 

And help to grace dear Shepard's Funeral ! 

How would I paint our griefs, and succours borrow 
From Art and Fancy, to limn out our sorrow ! 


Now could I wish (if wishing would obtain) 

The sprightliest Efforts of Poetick Rage, 

To Tent my griefs, make others feel my pain, 

For this loss of the Glory of our Age. 

Here is a Subject for the loftiest "Verse 
That ever waited on the bravest Hearse. 

And could my Pen ingeniously distill 
The purest Spirits of a sparkling wit 
In rare Conceits, the quintessence of skill 
In Elegiack Strains ; none like to it : 

I should think all too little to condole 

The fatal loss (to us) of such a Soul. 

Could I take highest flights of Fancy, soar 

Aloft ; If Wits Monopoly were mine : 

All would be much too low, too light, too poor, 

To pay due tribute to this great Divine. 

Ah ! Wit avails not, when th' Heart's like to break, 
Great griefs are Tongue-ti'ed, when the lesser speak. 

Away loose rein'd Careers of Poetry," 

The celebrated Sisters may be gone ; 

We need no Mourning Womens Elegy, 

No forc'd, affected, artificial Tone, 

Great and good Shepard's Dead ! Ah ! this alone 
Will set our eyes abroach, dissolve a stone. 

Poetic Raptures are of no esteem, 

Daring Hyperboles have here no place, 

Luxuriant Wits on such a copious Theme, 

Would shame themselves, and blush to shew their face. 
Here's worth enough to overmatch the skill 
Of the most stately Poet Laureat's quill. 

Exube'rant Fancies useless here I deem, 
Transcendent vertue scorns feigned Elogies : 
He that gives Shepard half his due, may seem, 
If Strangers hear it, to Hyperbolize. 

Let him that can, tell what his vertues were, 
And say, this Star mov'd in no common Sphere. 

Here need no Spices, Odours, curious Arts, 
No skill of Egypt, to Embalm the Name 
Of such a Worthy : let men speak their hearts, 
They'l say, He merits an immortal Fame. 

When Shepard is forgot, all must conclude, 

This is prodigious ingratitude. 

The twenty-second stanza is as follows : 

Art, Nature, Grace, in him were all combined 
To show the world a matchless Paragon, 
In whom of radiant virtues no less shine, 


Than a whole constellation ; but he's gone ! 
He's gone, alas ! down in the dust must lie 
As much of this rare person as could die." 1 

The Church were not united in choosing a successor to Mr. 
Shepard. A short time after his death, it gave a call to Rev. 
Joseph Brown, and the committee appointed to communicate it, 
were instructed to inform him, that the church " had an eye to Mr. 
Shepard, (the son of the late pastor,) " for office work in conveni- 
ent time," and to request him to " draw him on to preach as 
speedily as might be." It appears to have been the intention to 
settle Messrs. Brown and Shepard as colleagues ; but the former, 
after giving a negative answer, died May 9, 1678. 2 

For a short time the pulpit was supplied with transient minis- 
ters. When not quite twenty years of age, Mr. Shepard preached 
(May 19, 1678,) his first sermon, from the text "He is my Fath- 
er's God and I will exalt him." Mather says, " He discoursed 
with a very charming, solid and serious gravity;" and the church 
were so much pleased with the sermon, that they invited him to 
preach again " in order to office." Another candidate, Rev. Dan- 
iel Russell, was proposed at a church meeting on Sunday, June 9, 
but was warmly opposed. After several meetings and much re- 
crimination, the church, July 22, voted to call both the candidates, 
Mr. Shepard and Mr. Russell. 

On the succeeding Sunday the congregation remained after ser- 

1 This was printed at Boston in 1677, in a pamphlet of sixteen pages, 
with a mourning title-page, and a poetic epistle to the Reader, commencing: 

" Reader ! I am no Poet ; but T grieve ! 

Behold here, what that Passion can do ! 

That forc'd a Verse, without Apollo's leave, 

And whether th' Learned Sisters would or no. 

My Griefs can hardly speak : my sobbing Muse 
In broken terms our sad bereavement rues." 

2 Felt's Salem, p. 248 and Farmer. There may be found a large collec- 
tion of papers in relation to the church proceedings on this occasion, in 
Mass. Hist. Collections, Vol. XXXI. pp. 248. 264. 

One of them is entitled " A Brief Narrative of some of the most con- 
siderable Passages of this Church, and their several committees acting 
since the death of our dear and reverend Teacher, Mr. Thomas Shep- 
ard, &c." It makes ten pages of the Collections, and is a sketch of the 
church debates, &c, from May 19, 1678, to November 5. It was a ques- 
tion, simply, of personal preference, and in deciding it, the "spirits" of 
the members were much " raised." The church's doings were called 
" irregular," " out of the way of God," — " rash and unreasonable ; " 
and at one meeting, a prominent member, after pronouncing the whole 
proceedings " unreasonable and unseasonable," left the house. 


vice to request the candidates to accept the calls, and afterwards to 
hear their answers. Mr. Shepard, in reply, July 29, " Thank- 
fully acknowledged the church's and town's love to his honored 
father and himself, and gave them very good encouragement that 
they might enjoy his help." Mr. Russell replied Sept. 15, " That 
he was willing to help them at present in the work of the ministry." 

Those members unfriendly to the call of Mr. Russell continued 
their opposition, and an ecclesiastical council, composed of some 
of the distinguished men of the Colony, considered the case. The 
result is not recorded. Mr. Russell x died in January, 1679, and 
Mr. Shepard was ordained as pastor May 5, 1680 ; the town vo- 
ting him a salary of one hundred pounds a year, with the usual allow- 
ance, ten shillings, for the sermons preached by transient ministers. 

Mr. Shepard was ordained by Mr. Sherman, of Watertown, 
and received the right hand of fellowship from President Oakes. 
He preached his own Ordination Sermon, and took his text from 
Hebrews, xiii. 20, " That great shepherd of the sheep." Another 
sermon was preached on this occasion from Ezekiel, xxxiii. 7 : 
" Son of man I have set thee a watchman; " at the conclusion of 
which, preserved in Mather, the young preacher was earnestly and 
affectionally commended to the congregation. " Pray for him in 
particular," the preacher said, " and that every day ! Who knows 
what God may do for you, in him and by him, as in and by his 
father before him? Let it be your prayer that he would take of 
the spirit that was in his father and grandfather, who were both of 
them great men in their generation, and bestow thereof a double 
portion upon him." 

Thomas Shepard was born July 5, 1658, and graduated at 
Harvard College in 1676. Mather details at length his early 
piety, virtues and diligence in study. His attainments in learning 
gained him an early admission into college, and " raised great 
hopes in good men concerning him." His father, to guide his 

1 Rev Daniel Russell was the son of Richard, see p. 145. His wife was 
Mehitable, (called Mabel,) daughter of Samuel Willy, of Hartford. 
She married Rev. Isaac Foster, son of William Foster, of this town, and 
minister of Hartford, who died Aug. 22, 1682. The widow married a 
third time Rev. Timothy Woodbridge, the successor of Mr. Foster. The 
daughter of Daniel and Mehitable Russell, Mehitable, married Rev. John 
Hubbard, minister of Jamaica, Long Tsland. Com. of Sylvester Judd, 
Esq. Dr. Lowell has an Elegy written on the death of Rev. Daniel Rus- 
sell, and a few of his MS. sermons. 


academic life, gave him a paper of instructions (preserved in 
Mather) ; and it is recorded that he made the heart of his father 
to rejoice by his exemplary attendance upon them. 

Though Mr. Shepard was not twenty-two years of age when he 
was ordained pastor of the church, yet in the words of Mather, 
" he made the most judicious of his people pass this judgment 
upon him, that he was no novice. And such an example was he 
in word, in conversation, in civility, in spirit, in faith, in purity, 
that he did let no man despise his youth." " By the gravity of 
his deportment he kept up his authority among all sorts of persons, 
and by the courtesy of it he won their affection." He was a dili- 
gent student, a faithful pastor, and a sincere Christian. " The 
Lord encouraged his holy labors by making of such additions unto 
his church, as few churches in the country for the time had the 
like." Mather has preserved an interesting account of his studies, 
his domestic duties, and his religious views. His ministry, however, 
was a short one. On Friday, June 5, he was indisposed, but 
continued his labors through Saturday, preparing for the Sab- 
bath, when the Lord's Supper was to have been administered. 
In the evening his illness increased so rapidly that he said to his 
wife, " I would gladly have been once more at the table of the 
Lord, but I now see I shall no more partake thereof, until I do it 
after a new manner in the kingdom of Heaven. On Sunday, 
Cotton Mather visited him, to whom he said, " My hopes are built 
on the free mercy of God and the rich merit of Christ, and I do 
believe if I am taken out of the world, I shall only change my 
place : I shall neither change my company nor my communion. 
And as for you, sir, I beg the Lord Jesus to be with you to the 
end of the world." He was overheard after this, often praying for 
the widow church he was to leave behind him. He died that 
night, June 7, 1685, and was buried two days after with much 
parade, — the governor, magistrates, and many of the neighbor- 
ing ministers being present. 

The church remained without a pastor until the emigration of the 
Rev. Charles Morton. He was born at Pendavy, in the county of 
Cornwall, about 1626. His father, Rev. Nicholas Morton, was of 
an ancient family at Morton, Nottinghamshire, and was ejected for 

1 Mr. Shepard married Mrs. Mary Lynde, widow, July 27, 1682, 
Her maiden name was Anderson. She married Samuel Hevman, and 
died in 1717, aged 66. 



non-conformity in the reign of Charles I., then minister in South- 
ark, where he died. 

When Mr. Morton was about fourteen years of age, his grandfa- 
ther, a zealous royalist and churchman, sent him to Oxford, " where 
he was very studious, and at the same time zealous for the rites 
and ceremonies of the Church." While fellow of this college, he 
gained a high reputation for his proficiency in mathematics and gen- 
eral scholarship. During the civil wars, he observed, that the more 
virtuous part of the nation favored the cause of Parliament, and the 
profligate sided with the king ; and this led him to apply himself 
seriously to the controversy between the Prelatist and the Puritan. 
He determined to embrace the cause of the latter. 

He began his ministry at Blisland, in Cornwall County, where, 
as a conformist, he lived for several years, but was ejected by the 
Act of Uniformity of 1662. He then retired to a small tenement 
of his own in the Parish of St. Ives, and preached privately to a 
few people in a neighboring village, until the fire of London in 
1666, by which he sustained great losses. His private affairs then 
required his residence in London. 

Soon after this, Mr. Morton's friends persuaded him to establish 
an academy for the instruction of youth at Newington Green, near 
London. This institution, under his guidance, acquired great and 
deserved celebrity. " He had," Dr. Calamy writes, " a peculiar 
talent of winning youth to the love of virtue and learning, both by 
his pleasant conversation, and by a familiar way of making difficult 
subjects easily intelligible." 1 At this time Dissenters were exclu- 
ded from the National Universities, and this institution furnished 
the best education that class had it in their power to give to their 
sons. Many ministers and others, like Defoe, celebrated in after 
life, were educated here. When this great writer was reproached 
for " his mean Dissenter's education," he zealously defended his 
early discipline and his able instructor. Besides philosophy and 
history, the languages and the sciences, theology and politics, he 
says that Mr. Morton made them thorough English scholars ; " more 
of us excelled in that particular than of any school of that time." 
In this situation, Mr. Morton, spent twenty years of his life. 

The influence of this Puritan Academy was marked by its ene- 
mies ; and Mr. Morton was much harassed by processes from the 

1 Non Conformist Memorial, Vol. I. p. 348. 


Bishops' Courts. He was a lover of political liberty, and regarded 
with sympathy and pride the rising commonwealths of the New 
World. "He always gave a mighty character of New England;" 
and when, a contemporary says, at length he was obliged to leave 
off teaching, his reputation was such here that many desired him 
to be president of Harvard College. The following letter writ- 
ten by Mr. Morton in England, to Increase Mather, of Boston, 
shows the feelings with which Mr. Morton came to this country :— 
Rev Sir • October 10, 1685. 

" Yours of August 4th received, with the repeated invitation of Mr. 
No well. 1 I much doubt I shall hardly answer the expectations raised of 
me. But if, when I come, I am not found par negotio, I shall, without 
the least regret, give place to my betters. What obstructions I have now 
met with, that 1 come not with Captain Jenner, my nephew, (the bearer) 
will inform you. I am willing, if God please to accept me, to serve him 
in any capacity that I may. I have sent (as a pledge of my good will to 
your affairs) this branch of my family to prosecute his studies in your 
college, having begun with us about two years since ; which time, if he 
can perform the exercises belonging to his standing, he hopes will be al- 
lowed him towards a degree. He is indeed defective in the Tongues, es- 
pecially the Hebrew, and therefore craves a little indulgence in that re- 
spect, for a time, until his industry, with God's blessing, shall have con- 
quered that difficulty. In this, as in other things, I must needs bespeak 
your favor towards him, as a token of your kindness to me. I cannot 
claim the acquaintance which your letter intimates, for though I well re- 
member, that about the year 1659, I travelled from the west to London, 
yet I cannot recall what company I had in that journey. I had two brs. 
(Brothers,) both tall black men, and cheerful company, both ministers, 
who came from the west about the same time ; possibly it might be one of 
them ; one was the father of this young man, the other a minister in Ire- 
land. This I remember, that T knew one of your name, who sometime 
preached in Oxford, and came from N. E. But though we never knew 
one the other according to the flesh, it may Avell suffice, if we are both 
known of God, have communion in one Spirit, meet at the Throne of 
Grace here, and in a better world hereafter. 

" I am glad to read in your letter, your absolute denial of that imputed 
and imposed folly, whereby some one is pleased to blast your reputation 
and note you with a black dash. I shall not be wanting to do you right 
in making the falsehood known, as I have opportunity. I thank you for 
your intended kindness of N. E. books ; as also, for your catalogue of 
graduates and questions, which I received. Please to accept a trifle which 
my nephew will present you with. The Lord in mercy preserve the inte- 
rest of his Gospel in your country, and order what may concern his own 
glory, either with or without the presence of, 

" Your affectionate Brother 

" and Servant in our Lord, 

Charles Morton." 

" Pray sir please to give encouragement, and assist by your direction, 
Mr. John Dunton, bookseller, who is son-in-law to Rev. Dr. Annesly, my 

1 Samuel Nowell, of this town, son of Increase Nowell. 


much esteemed friend, and one who has greatly deserved of the Chruch of 

Mr. Morton landed in this town in July, 1686. He arrived, 
however, at an inauspicious period. The old Charter had fallen; 
Dudley was president, and Andros was expected. His obnoxious- 
ness to the ruling powers in England, rendered his elevation to the 
presidency, either impossible or unadvisable ; and he accepted a 
call of this church to be their pastor. He was ordained Nov. 5. 

The services were, to the congregationalists, of a novel character. 
Mr. Morton called the occasion " an induction ;" it was one of the 
earliest instances of installation in New England. Though the 
forms were endured, yet they were " not agreeable to those who had 
been brought up in the rigid Congregationalism of the first set- 
tlers." Judge Sewall, a spectator, writes of them as follows: — 

" Mr. Morton is ordained the pastor of the church at Charlestown ; 
propounded to the church and to all if any had to object ; then the church's 
vote was had. Mr. Mather gave him his charge. Mr. Allen, Moody, 
Willard, prayed. Mr. Morton's text was out of Rom. 1. 16. Took oc- 
casion to speak of the 5th of November very pithily, and said the just con- 
trary to that epistle was taught and practiced at Rome. Mr. Mather 
spoke in praise of the congregational way, and said were he as Mr. Mor- 
ton, he would have hands laid on him. Mr. Moody, in his prayer, said 
though that which would have been grateful to many, (viz. : laying on of 
hands,) was omitted, or to that purpose. 1 dined about three or four 
o'clock at Mr. Russell's." 


Customs of Olden Time. — Government for 1684. — Municipal Regula- 
tions. — Sunday. — Lecture Day. — Church Services. — Baptisms. — 
Marriages. — Funerals. — Thanksgivings. — Holidays. — Rejected 
Festivals. — Administration of Justice. — Punishments. — Furni- 
ture. — Dress. — Foreign Trade. — Home Trade — Manufactures. — 
Money. — Post Office. — Travelling. — Slaves — Progress of Society. 

This chapter l will contain details illustrative of the social 
customs of the inhabitants at the period of the fall of the First 

i The original of this letter is in Prince's Ms. Collection, in Mass. Hist. 
Cabinet, p. 59. 

2 The authorities consulted in the preparation of this chapter are far too 
numerous to be all cited. Wood, 1637 and Letchford (1640) are too early 


Charter. Then the primitive fathers of the town had nearly passed 
away, and a generation, moulded by the circumstances of their 
pioneer condition, began to play their parts. What there is 
peculiar to the New England character had become firmly rooted, 
and at least partially developed. Hence, if there were materials 
for it, Charlestown would afford, at this time, a picture of a com- 
munity acting in an independent spirit, electing its officers, man- 
aging its internal affairs, and yet connected with a general organ- 
ization; of a community in which individualism was allowed to a 
large extent, for the times, in business and politics, and yet where 
public order was rigidly maintained, — enjoying the worldly suc- 
cess that is the fruit of manliness, shrewdness and industry, and 
yet elevating far above it moral and intellectual progress. This 
picture is common in America now, — it was rare, if not unex- 
ampled (except in New England) in the world then. 

Though the organization of Maiden and Woburn had deprived 
the town of a large part of its territory, yet it was still too extended 
for one local government, including as it did, Stoneham and a por- 
tion of Medford. Its officers, in 1684, were ; Selectmen, 1 James 
Russell, Laurence Hammond, Richard Sprague, John Call, John 
Phillips, Joseph Lynde, Thomas Graves : Constables, Nathaniel 
Heyman, Jacob Hurd, John Simpson, John Whittemore : Sur- 
veyors of damnified Goods, Zechariah Long, John Phillips, Rich- 
ard Sprague : Clerks of the Market, William Clough, Richard 
Austin : Packer of Fish and Flesh, Samuel Hunting : Corder of 

to quote ; and Josselyn in his last visit, (1663) is scanty in materials. 
Hutchinson, Chapters IV. and V., and Neal, Chapter XIV. Hist, of New 
England, have been used. Chalmers, in his Political Annals, has valuable 
matter, but chiefly political. Felt, in his History of Ipswich and Salem, 
has given much on the manners and customs. Still this chapter has been 
drawn chiefly from contemporaneous documents; mostly MSS., to be 
found in the Mass. Archives, Probate Records and Court Records. The 
subject is important, for Chalmers writes, Annals, p. 677, " the customs 
of a free people are a part of their liberty ; " but it is difficult. In com- 
petent hands it would make a valuable volume. 

i In 1658 the town voted, " that if any inhabitant of this town shall fail in 
not attending Town meetings upon the usual warning given, that then every 
inhabitant for every such defect shall forfeit and pay the sum of eighteen 
pence, unless the excuse shall be judged reasonable by the Selectmen." 
In 1668 the Selectmen agreed that if any one of their Board did " not 
meet at the time appointed for meeting by the, major part of the Select- 
men," he should pay " three-pence for each hours defect ; " unless he 
could give " a rational excuse approved by the major part of the Select- 
men ; and to pay for his dinner in case provision be made." 


Wood, John Damon : Culler of Staves, Joseph Kettle : Sealers of 
Hides and Leather, John Damon, Samuel Dowse : To search into 
the middle price of Wheat, John Fowle, John Cutler : Culler and 
Measurer of Boards and Timber, Samuel Lord : Culler of Fish 
and Measurer of Salt and Coal, Michael Long : Surveyors of the 
Highways, James Miller, Thomas Welch, John Knight, Andrew 
Stimpson, Timothy Cutler, Richard Stowers. These officers 
were elected in March, " at a general meeting of the inhabitants." 
The Selectmen afterwards appointed sixteen Overseers of the 
Fences of the eight Town Fields ; Two Overseers for the Com- 
mon, and Four Common Drivers: Thomas Lord, Town Treas- 
urer and Town Messenger : Michael Lord, Inspector of Youth on 
Lord's Days and other Days. At a meeting of the " Inhabitants 
and Freemen," in June, Laurence Hammond, Thomas Graves and 
John Phillips were chosen Commissioners. John Newell was 
" Recorder." The previous year (1683) fourteen Tythingmen 
were chosen. 1 

This list shows that there was, in 1684, substantially the same 
municipal officers as to-day. The Records furnish a glimpse 
of many of the town customs. The bell was rung at five o'clock 
in the morning and at eight in the evening. 2 The Herdsman, from 
April to October, an hour after sunrise, blew his horn from the 
Town Hill to collect the herd, and drove them " to the best feed- 
ing places on the common." The Overseers of the Fields kept 
them clear of strange beasts, and looked after broken fences. 
The Surveyors kept the streets free from rubbish, and on Sun- 
days and Lecture Days, from Swine. The selectmen, in addition 
to other duties, narrowly watched the children, that they were 

i The Town Records are lost, — evidently torn out, — from Septem- 
ber 29, 1684, to October 5, 1686 : and from this date to April, 1689, the 
proceedings only fill five leaves. 

2 The people were obliged to be in their houses, generally, at nine 
o'clock. Josselyn, in his description of Boston, thus describes Bos- 
ton Common : " On the South there is a small but pleasant Common, 
where the gallants, a little before sunset, walk with their marmalet mad- 
ams (as they do here in Moor-Fields) till the nine o'clock bell rings tbem 
home to their respective habitations ; when presently the constables walk 
their rounds to see good orders kept, and to take up loose people." Tbis 
is copied by Sellers, whose Tract printed in London in 1682, was accom- 
panied by a curious Map of New England, finely executed. The descrip- 
tions are taken from previous writers. That of Charlestown is Johnson's, 
copied page 119. A copy of this rare work is hi Harvard College Library. 


educated and catechised ; and if parents neglected these duties, 
so that their offspring were growing up " incapable of any useful- 
ness in their generation," the Selectmen presented such parents at 
the county court, and their children were provided for. The 
Tythingmen watched the gamblers, tiplers, night-walkers and 
Sabbath-breakers. The Town Messenger sharply eyed all visiters, 
strangers in town, and gave " speedy notice to the Selectmen of 
their names, whence they came, and where they lodged." Dwell- 
ing houses were statedly inspected to see if " supplied with suffi- 
cient ladders : " and if flame was observed " to blaze out at the top 
of a chimney," the householder was fined. The Poor were pro- 
vided for by the Selectmen, who (1678) delegated their power to 
the Town Treasurer, to relieve them at his discretion. The Bell- 
man began, " about twelve o'clock at night " his watch, to sound 
an alarm of danger ; and as he walked from Deacon Stitson's, " to 
the gate at the Neck," at intervals he rang his bell and cried the 
hour of the watch. 

Sunday was a day of unwonted gravity of deportment. The 
period from sunset on Saturday night, until Monday morning, was 
regarded as sacred to the service of God. Laws were passed 
from time to time to prevent its profanation ; and these related to 
the abuses of "children playing in various places;" of "youth, 
maids and other persons, uncivilly walking in the streets and 
fields ; " of persons, both on Saturday night and Lord's day night, 
after sunset, " sporting and drinking in ordinaries; " of neglecting 
public worship; " of doing servile work," "not of piety, of charity 
or of necessity ; " of travelling " either on horseback, or on foot, 
or by boat," to an unlawful meeting. Penalties were imposed 
and exacted for all these offences. 1 

i One of the offensive things done by the government of Sir Edmund 
Andros was the interruption of the strict observance of the Sabbath. 
Judge Sewall thus notices celebrations on this day : — 

"1686, Saturday, Sept. 25. The Queen's Birth-day is celebrated by 
the Capts of the Frigate and sundry others at Noddle's Island. King 
and Council's Proclamation of Nov. 6, last, was published by beat of 
Drum through the Town, to hinder the making Bonfires in the Town 
however. Went with their Boats to the Ships and Vessels and caus'd 
them to put out their Ancients. Many Guns Fired — a kind of Tent set up 
at the Island and a Flagg on the top on't. Made a great Fire in the 
Evening, many Hussas. Sabbath the 26. Mr. Willard expresses great 
grief in his Prayer for the Profanation of the Sabbath last night." 
" 1686 -7, Sabbath, Feb. 6, between half hour after eleven and half 


Lecture Days were appointed very early in the Colony ; in this 
town the lecture was on Friday, and though most probably 
coeval, in date, with the foundation of the Church, yet the earliest 
mention I have met of it is in 1657. The custom was kept up, 
here, over a century. On this day there was a sermon delivered, 
which was more particularly devoted to expositions of Scripture, 
and of the leading articles of the christian faith. It was a day 
of general interest, when many flocked from the neighboring 
towns to hear a favorite preacher ; and hence it was made a great 
day for punishments. Andros was deposed on one of these 
lecture days. 

The services at Church were substantially similar to those of 
the congregational churches of to-day, excepting that the Scrip- 
tures were not read l and there was no choir or instrumental music. 
The hymn was read, line by line, the deacons pitched the tune, 
and the congregation sang. At this time the " Bay State Psalm 
Book" was in use in the New England churches. The men, wo- 
men and boys sat in separate seats, the deacons in a pew directly 
in front of the pulpit, and the town messenger tended the hour-glass. 

The religious ceremonies that were supposed to tend against a 
spiritual worship were rejected. Two sermons, printed here, and 
levelled against ten of the chief prevailing " idols," show the 
feeling of the times. The first " idol" named, the surplice with 
the rest of " that Popish wardrobe of superstitious garments, 
hoods, tippets, rochets, &c," was such "a master-idol," "that it 

hour after twelve at Noon many scores of great Guns fired at the Castle 
and Town, suppose upon account of the Kings entering on the third year 

of his Reign. This day the Lord's Supper was administered at the 

Middle and North Meeting Houses. The rattling of the Guns during al- 
most all the time gave them great disturbance. ' Twas never so in Bos- 
ton before." Com. by Rev. Samuel Sewall. 

1 Letchford states that the Scriptures (1640) were read in the churches. 
Tfso the custom declined : for sermons were preached about 1700 to 
prove the necessity of reviving it. Rev. William Holmes, in a Discourse 
printed in Boston in 1720, " Concerning the Publick Reading of the Holy 
Scriptures by the Lord's People, in their religious assemblies." In a 
letter addressed to Judge Sewall, he says, " Why this practice should be 
discontinued by any of the disciples of Jesus, I see no reason : I am per- 
suaded it cannot be alleged to be any part of our reformation from Popish 
Superstition." And in the sermon, p. 29, he says: ''What though it 
be alleged against us by some, that we are bringing in a new practice, 
contrary to the received custom and usage of the country wherein we 


sanctified as it were, all other idols. The second idol was the 
sign of the cross in baptism, so gross and palpable, that some who 
could " swallow down all the rest, the very organs and all," 
" could not digest it." The third was kneeling at the Lord's 
Supper ; the fourth, bowing to the altar, and setting the commu- 
nion table altar-wise ; the fifth, bowing at the name of Jesus, and 
the sixth " Popish holidays." The seventh idol was the custom 
of consecrating churches, for there was no warrant in the New 
Testament " to sanctify any one place more than another." Or- 
gans and cathedral music made the eighth Idol ; for the Scriptures, 
" Let all things be done unto edifying," and " I will sing with the 
spirit and I will sing with the understanding also," "cashiered 
and excluded them out of the gospel worship : " " The chanters 
and choristers are barbarians to all the people, for they play and 
sing nobody knows what, so that the understanding cannot edify 
by it." The ninth superstition was the Book of Common Prayer, 
" a grand idol of the Church of England;" and a church govern- 
ment by Bishops was the tenth. ] 

Baptisms were administered in the Meeting-house, soon after 
birth, and in most cases were not delayed after the next Sunday : 
and there are instances where the little stranger of a Sabbath 
morning, was seen at the baptismal font at church in the after- 
noon. This privilege was opened by the half-way covenant 
to nearly the whole population ; and an authority of 1680, in 
stating the number of births in the Massachusetts Colony at from 
four to five hundred annually, says that most of the children, 
except those of anabaptist parents, were baptized. 

Marriages in England were solemnized only by clergymen; a 
law was enacted here that none but magistrates, or persons 
especially authorized, should marry, — one of the cases in which 
the colonists legislated directly contrary to the laws of England. 
It was not lawful to make a "motion of marriage" to a maid 
without the consent of her parents, or in their absence of the county 
court ; 2 and the parties were obliged to be published three times 
in some public place for fourteen days. Much account was made 

1 Sermons by Samuel Mather, with a Preface by M. I. No date, but 
printed before 1685. 

2 In 1652 there was a case of a fine for this offence of five pounds. 
The offender pleaded that he was a stranger in the country, and ignorant 
of the law, and had abated fifty shillings. 



of weddings, when cake and wine, mirth and frolic, abounded ; in 
some instances express provision was made in wills for the ex- 
penses attending them. So prevalent was the hilarity of these joy- 
ous occasions, that (1719) their " riotous irregularities" were re- 
buked by the Boston ministers in their " testimony against evil 
customs." A proclamation, dated May 29, 1686, authorized min- 
isters to marry, and by degrees the people called upon them in- 
stead of the magistrates. Rev. Charles Morton is the first clergy- 
man of this town who solemnized marriages. 1 

Funerals were of an anomalous character. As religion occu- 
pied so much of the life of the people, it would be natural to sup- 
pose that religious services were conspicuous at burials. But the 
Pagans buried their dead with songs of triumph, and the Catholics 
prayed for the souls of the departed ; and to avoid idolatry and 
popery, the Puritan tolerated no prayer 2 or service at a funeral, 
and only, perhaps, formal religious conversation. But public 
officers, as ministers and magistrates, and the wealthy, were buried 
with great parade. Large numbers assembled at the house of 
mourning. Crape, scarfs, hat-bands, gloves and rings, were dis- 
tributed to the chief mourners. A procession, marshalled by per- 
sons bearing staffs, halberts and other badges of authority, clothed 

i In a few cases before this time, Episcopalian and French Protestant 
Clergymen solemnized marriage. Judge Sewall writes — " 1685, Sept., 
Laurence Vandenbosk, French minister, marries Sylvester and Widow 
Gillam ; though he had promised the court to do no more such things, 
this about the beginning of 7th, (September) is since gone to New York. 
1686, May 18, a great wedding from Milton, and are married by Mr. 
Randolph's chaplain, at Mr, Shrimp tons, according to the service book, 
a little after noon, when prayer was had at the town-house. Was 
another married at the same time. The former was Vose's son. Bor- 
rowed a ring. 'Tis said they having asked Mr. Cook and Addington, 
and they declining it, went after to the President (Andros,) and he sent 
them to his Parson." 

2 It has been stated (Tudor's Letters, p. 112) that the first prayer 
made by a congregational minister at a funeral was when Dr. Mayhew 
was buried in 1766. This is incorrect. The earliest instance I have met 
with is August 19, 1685, at the funeral of Rev. William Adams, of Rox- 
bury. Judge Sewall of this date writes, " Magistrates there, Deputy 
Governor, Mr. Stoughton, Dudley, Richards, Cook. Four of our class, 
viz. Mr. Thatcher, Bowles, Norton, Self. I took one spell of carrying 
him. Is laid in Mr. Lusher's tomb. Mr. Wilson, minister of Medfield, 
prayed with the company before they went to the grave." Com. by 
Rev. Samuel Sewall. The first instance Sewall knew of the Common 
Prayer Book being used at a burial, was in August, 1686. Holmes 
Annals, Vol. I. p. 421. 


with mourning, walked at the tolling of the bell to the grave, — 
the friends carrying the body. If the corpse was a female, the 
women walked first, — if a male, the men. * All this parade 
did not pass off without an entertainment, which was often expen- 
sive, in which wine, cider, and strong drink were conspicuous. 
This custom run through society ; and even a pauper could not be 
interred with propriety by the town without sundry gallons of 
" green wine," and gloves. Of course burials were not allowed 
on the Sabbath day, except in some places by special leave of the 
justice of the peace. The passion for a great funeral, in spite of 
discouragement, and even of legal prohibition, prevailed down to 
the time of the Revolution ; when the journals abound with notices 
of families, which, to encourage economy, patriotically avoided 
expensive mourning apparel and funerals ; or if they used gloves 
and other mourning, were careful that it was of" American manu- 
facture." 2 

Thanksgivings were coeval with the foundation of the Colony, 
and were appointed on unusual occasions of rejoicing, public or 
private. Fasts were equally common, and were suggested by any 
great calamity in prospect, or which had taken place, whether an 
earthquake or a disease, — whether danger threatened the charter, 
or " worms threatened a famine." 

Holidays were numerous, perhaps more so, than they are to-day ; 
and though free from the pageants and pastimes used in the old 
world to keep the people in subjection, were undoubtedly marked 
by great hilarity. The most general, in this community, were the 
Election Days. On the general election of governor and magistrates, 

1 Felt's Ipswich, p. 3. Ipswich appointed a committee on the occa- 
sion of a public funeral, to " look to the burning of the wine and the heat- 
ing of the cider." See also his Annals of Salem, p. 329. 

2 Two instances will serve to show how expensive funerals were in the 
olden time. One, that of Captain Richard Sprague, who died in 1703. 
Among the charges, there were for gloves, £68. 12s : and " gloves for 
Bess, negro, 2s 6d : " for gloves and hatbands, £ 3. 2s : for black 
serge and crape, £ 2. 16s : for crape to cover the leading staff, hal- 
berts, &c. , 14s Id : for rings, £ 41. 6s Id : for wine, £ 15. lOd. Total, 
£ 147. 16s. 

The other instance was in 1774, the funeral of Rev. Hull Abbott, 
buried at the expense of the town. Some of the charges were ; for 
twelve gold rings, £ 8 : Lisbon Wine, Malaga Wine, W. I. Rum, 
£5. 16s 8d : Lemons, Sugar, pipes and tobacco, £ 3. 8s 6d : Gloves, 
£ 40. Is 6d : Death's head and cross bones, 15s. 


the people collected to hear a sermon and see a parade, and the au- 
thorities dined in public. The Artillery Election furnished another 
occasion for a sermon and parade. At this period there was a rival 
to the Ancient and Honorable, the Middlesex Artillery, which para- 
ded in this town and Cambridge. The ministers intimate that on 
these days there was more sport than Military Discipline : " as 
if," one writes, " they were days to meet on, to smoke and ca- 
rouse, and swagger and dishonor God with the greater bravery. 
O make a business of it and not a play." l Commencement-day 
was early a favorite holiday, when the people " were as cheerful 
among their friends as the English were at Christmas." 2 Court 
Days were regarded partly as holidays. Ordinations were not of 
such frequent occurrence as they are to-day, and custom would 
hardly allow the minister to commence his life-labor with a con- 
gregation, without a season of feasting and rejoicing ; nor did the 
festivities close until evening, when the people had a " call " and 
frolic. In 1716 the Boston ministers denounced the abuses of 
these days, especially "the unbecoming actions" of the evening. 
And in the husking frolics there was so much revelling as to 
call forth an admonition from the same source. Pope-day, No- 
vember Fifth, the anniversary of the Gun-Powder treason, was 
thus early celebrated, sometimes by a sermon, but oftener by 
evening bon-fires and salutes. An early allusion to this once 
noted custom, is in 1662, when it is named as " a day of Public 
Thanksgiving," when in this town, and in the evening, after nine 
o'clock, " sundry young persons " gathered into companies, tum- 
bled down an old house, pulled up fences, kindled bon-fires, and 
"shot off guns." 3 In 1685, Judge Sewall wrote in Boston, on 
this anniversary, " although it rained hard, yet there was a bon- 
fire made on the common." 4 

Many of the holidays of England were rejected because they 
were looked upon as of immoral tendency, or of Pagan or Popish 

1 Urian Oakes's Sermon preached Sept. 10, 1677. 

2 Neal, in 1700, History of New England. 

3 Middlesex County Court Record, Dec. 16, 1662. 4 In a notice of the 
Thursday Lecture, Nov. 5, 1685, Sewall says the Preacher " mentioned 
not a word in Prayer or in Preaching that I took notice of with respect 
to Gunpowder Treason." The next year, 1686, the day was observed 
in Boston by religious services. He says, " One Mr. Clark preached at 
the Town House : speaks much against the Presbyterians in England 
and here." Com. from Rev. S. Sewall. 


origin. The Christmas holidays were regarded as but a continua- 
tion of the festivals of the Pagans and those who observed them 
by " forbearing labor, feasting, or any other way," * were liable to 
a five-shilling penalty. Candlemas-day had " superstition written 
on its forehead." 2 Shrove-Tuesday was the heathen's shrove-tide, 
when the Pagan Romans made little cakes as a sacrifice to their 
Gods," and "the heathen Greeks made pancakes as to their 
idols ; " and hence to single out that day to make pancakes in 
" was an heathenish vanity." The custom of drinking healths 
was of the same origin ; and that of making new year's gifts, 
was another " paganish rite : " for on the first of January the god 
Janus was worshiped. The Drama was anathemized : " Baptized 
persons are under obligation to renounce all the pomps of satan, 
and therefore to abhor and abandon stage plays, which have a 
principal part in the pomps of the devil." May-day was proscri- 
bed, with its May-poles, garlands and games, for it was the Pagans 
Floralia, when there were dances and plays in memory of the harlot 
Flora. At this period a May-pole was talked of in this town : 
" It is an abominable shame," Increase Mather exclaims, October 
30, 1686, "that any persons in a land of such light and purity as 
New England has been, should have the face to speak or think of 
practicing so vile a piece of heathenism." Dancing was con- 
demned as tending to immorality. But in spite of restrictions it 
would be indulged in : " the last year (1685) promiscuous dancing 
was openly practiced and too much countenanced in this town," 
(Boston.) I. Mather wrote, and to check it, he printed his tract en- 
titled " An arrow against profane and promiscuous dances." 
These practices were all strictly rejected by the primitive fathers. 
" I can remember the time," he writes, in 1686, " when for many 
years, not so much as one of all these superstitious customs was 
known to be practiced in this land ; " and they hoped their poster- 
ity would never introduce them. "Ask such of the old standers 
as are yet living if it were not so," he continues. But now they 
were "growing evils." ''Alas!" he concluded in despair, " that 
so many of the present generation have so early corrupted their 

1 Colony Laws, 1672, p. 58 ; repealed in 1682. 

2 The quotations in the text are taken from Increase Mather's curious 
"Testimony against several Profane and Superstitious Customs, now 
practiced by some in New England," &c. Printed in London, 1687. 


doings. Methinks I hear the Lord speaking to New England as 
once to Israel : ' I planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed. 
How art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine 
unto me ! ' " 

The notices of games and sports of the early settlers are meagre. 
Cards, dice, and other games of chance, were rejected as constitu- 
ting an appeal to God on trivial occasions. In the inventories of 
estates of persons of property there often is a " bird-piece " or a 
"fowling-piece; " and a colonial law of 1647 made it a common 
liberty for any man to fish and fowl in " the great ponds lying in 
common," and " to pass and repass on foot through any man's pro- 
priety for that end." A law like this, so contrary to the English 
game laws, would naturally encourage these manly recreations. 

Under the First Charter, justice was administered chiefly by the 
county courts — held by magistrates living in the respective coun- 
ties. They met alternately in this town and in Cambridge ; and 
their jurisdiction extended to " all causes, civil and criminal, not 
extending to life, member or banishment." There was a court, 
called commissioners for small causes, whose jurisdiction was 
confined to each particular town. The selectmen were made 
competent to try cases within the jurisdiction of a magistrate; 
and issue execution and enforce judgment. Causes, in this 
town, were heard mainly by the county court and the select- 
men, and from these tribunals there was an appeal to the court of 
assistants. For many years attorneys at law found but poor 
encouragement. A law of 1663 excluded practising lawyers 
from a seat in the General Court. 

The Punishments customary in England were common here, 
though the criminal code was far milder than that of any other 
country. The Gag and the Ducking Stool were provided, in a 
law of 1672, for Railing and Scolding : all persons convicted of 
the evil practice were to be "gagged, or set in a Ducking Stool, 
and dipt over head and ears three times in some convenient 
place of fresh or salt water, as the court judged meet." l The 
Duck Stool was an instrument of ancient date, used, more es- 
pecially, to punish unquiet women. It was sometimes a strong- 
backed chair, fixed with a rod and a lever. An old poem, entitled 

i Colony Laws of 1672. 



" The Ducking Stool " proves that the Court was orthodox in its 

requirements : — 

" Down in the deep the stool descends, 
But here at first we miss our ends ; 
She mounts again, and rages more 
Than ever vixen did before. 
So, throwing water on the fire, 
Will make it but burn up the higher. 
If so, my friend, pray let her take 
A second turn into the lake, 
And, rather than your patience lose, 
Thrice and again repeat the dose, i 

Scolds were also punished by having their tongues put into a cleft 
stick. The Stocks stood in the market-place, now the square. 
The framework will be better understood by the annexed cut, than 


by a description. It was much used and several times repaired ; 
a sentence (1677) by the selectmen for " drinking to excess," 
shows that one hour's sitting in the stocks could be compromised 
by paying 3s. 4d., money. The whipping-post stood in the mar- 
ket-place and was frequently used. A few cases will show the 
kind of offences that were expiated by the lash. The selectmen 
sentenced Theophilus Marsh " to have five lashes on his bare 
back for crying in the streets, publicly, 

That he that will cozen, cheat and lie, 

May go to Goodman Candish and learn by and by." 

and John Johnson " for contumacious carriage in the meeting- 
house on the Lord's Day," to be whipped ten stripes or pay a fine 
of ten shillings. The County Court sentenced Ursula Cole to be 

Quoted in Brande's Popular Antiquities. 



whipped, or pay a fine of five pounds for reviling Rev. Messrs. 
Symmes and Shepard, saying " she had as live hear a cat mew 
as them preach." The Stool of Repentance was a high seat in 
the middle alley of the meeting-house, on which culprits, for 
heinous offences, besides being fined and imprisoned, were obliged 
to sit on Lecture-days with a paper on their heads on which their 
offence was written. Wearing a halter was another punishment ; 
there are cases, of early date, in which the General Court ordered 
persons to wear one for years. The Cage stood on the north side 
of the church, and was built in 1677, twelve feet square, under the 
direction of the county court. It was repaired in 1705. This 
was the punishment of Sabbath breakers, who were put into it on 
Lecture-days, and subjected to the gaze and taunts of the people. 
The Pillory was in use until after the Revolution : this stood in the 

market-place; and culprits were commonly treated with lemons, 
eggs and other offensive missiles, from the crowd. Military pun- 
ishments, for contempt of officers, were riding the wooden horse, 
sitting in the Bilboes, or lying neck and heels. 1 Branding and 
maiming, the House of Correction, and the Gallows, were modes 
of punishment. I have not met with an instance of an execution 
in Charlestown under the First Charter. 

The Puritans, however stoical their idea of life, however strict 
their laws, however in earnest in spiritual things, were not the un- 

Law of 1672, May 15. 


social people they are sometimes represented. The inventories of 
their estates prove that they did not neglect the comforts, and even 
luxuries of life. There was no lack of variety in their household 
establishments. The kitchens were provided with pewter, tin, 
brass, and earthen cooking utensils in abundance, conspicuous 
among which was that now obsolete roasting apparatus, the Jack. 
The Pantries were stocked with fruits, preserves, and wines from 
abroad, and every variety of fish and flesh known to-day. The 
" Halls," " Parlors " and "Porches" contained costly furniture, 
among which were Olive-wood tables, Turkey and Persian car- 
pets, Turkey wrought chairs, window hangings, mantel-tree orna- 
ments, brass andirons, pictures, maps and clocks. The chambers 
were supplied with feather-beds, satin and silk quilts, curtains and 
warming-pans. The wealthy owned large amounts of plate. 

The costume varied, in style, as to-day. But the dress of the 
wealthy was rich and showy. The full dressed gentleman ap- 
peared in a coat of broadcloth or scarlet, with plaited and wadded 
skirts that reached below the knee, and were set off with wires. 
It had a narrow hem at the neck, full sleeves, with the cuffs reaching 
above the elbow, and wristbands fringed with lace. An embroidered 
band lay around the top, tied in front with tassels. Gold and sil- 
ver buttons were spread over it in profusion. The vest was 
fringed with lace. The small-clothes were supplied with puffs of 
ribbon or "points" at the knee, large buckles ornamented the 
shoes, and a sword hung by the side. The full dressed belle ap- 
peared in a gown of silk or satin, of full breadths, long and with a 
trail, liberally supplied with flounces and spangles, trolloped and 
kept up by means of hoops. It was low in the neck, with short 
sleeves, but large and slashed. The hair was covered with a lace 
head-dress, from which hung a profusion of curls, and over it a 
fine piece of cloth was sometimes thrown, showing a little of its 
border on the front. She wore an embroidered apron, fringed with 
lace, gloves, shoes ornamented with lace, and a profusion of jew- 
elry on the ears, neck, wrists and fingers. 1 

This gaudy apparel, though frowned upon by ministers in their 
sermons, was allowed in persons of competent estates, or of liberal 

i Rev. J. B Felt contributed a curious series of papers on costumes to 
the Worcester Spy. 



education. But none, even thus early, felt themselves doomed to 
poverty or obscurity, or to wear homely clothes ; and all were 
rather disposed to make their wardrobe at least as costly as their 
purse could buy. In the view of the Court, however, it was " in- 
tolerable that men and women of mean condition should take upon 
them the garb of gentlemen, by the wearing of gold and silver lace, 
or buttons, or points at their knees, or to walk in great boots ; or 
women of the same rank to wear silk or tiffany hoods, or scarfs." r 
Hubbard preached, that, " Whatever is not according to order is 
very indecent ; i. e. for the peasant to equal the prince, or imitate him 
in garb and in gait, or for the handmaid to imitate her mistress; " 
and he regarded such things as a " forerunner of sad confusion." 2 
And the Synod of 1679 regarded " pride in respect to apparel, 
especially in respect to servants and the poorer class of people," 
as one of the evils that brought upon New England the judgments 
of God. But neither the Law, the Pulpit, nor the Synod could 
suppress the love of dress ; and the officers sometimes met with 
home arguments as they executed their duty. A Woburn farmer, 
called to account for extravagance, answered " That he thought it 
no sin for his wife to wear a silk hood, and silk neck, and he 
desired to see an example before him." 3 If the laws on this subject 
indicate that some of our ancestors had a lurking love of the dis- 
tinctions of rank they left behind them in England, the manner in 
which they were disregarded shows, also, that there was no place 
for them in this community. 

The Foreign Trade of the town was undoubtedly large for the 
time- ' Business, however, as it is to-day, was intimately connected 
with Boston, and I have found but few facts on this subject. The 
Town Records contain evidence that, for many years, there was a 
large export of horses from here ; and the inventories of several mer- 
chants show that they were largely engaged in commerce. In spite 
of Parliamentary laws, a thriving, direct trade was carried on with 
the West Indies and the greater part of Europe. In 1673 a British 
vessel was in Boston three months ; and the captain wrote to Eng- 
land that ships came in daily from Spain, France, Holland, and the 

1 Laws of 1651 and 1662. Fines often and twenty shillings were im- 
posed. The latter law is severe upon tailors for making garments for 
children or servants, contrary to the order of their governors. 

2 Election Sermon. 3 Rev. Samuel Sewall. 


Canaries, bringing wines, linens, silks and fruits, and received the 
produce of the Colonies in exchange, which they carried to these 
kingdoms without going to England. The complaints made to 
England respecting the evasion of the Acts of Trade, induced the 
General Court to establish a Naval Office, and James Russell of 
this town was appointed to take charge of it. 

The Home Trade was done chiefly in stores, which presented a 
good assortment of articles. Of Dry Goods there were cotton, 
striped and blue linen, Turkey mohair, green say, black say, grey- 
serge, red-serge, broadcloth, fine Kent linen, Irish stockings, red 
and yellow taffety, dowlas, muffs, straw hats, bone-lace, band- 
strings, ribbons, silks, silver-buttons, gimp-buttons, thread-lace, pins, 
horn-combs, gloves, table-napkins and tape. Of Hardware, there 
were ivory-handled knives, scissors, thimbles, pad-locks, spring- 
locks, files, nails, brass-ware, tin-ware, pewter-ware, and tools for the 
various branches of agriculture and mechanical trades. Of Gro- 
ceries there were sugars, cinnamon, nutmegs, indigo, starch, figs, 
raisins, currants, pepper, ginger ; but no tea or coffee. 

The allusions to manufactures, in the Town Records, are 
scanty, and, up to this period, (1686,) are also few in the docu- 
ments of the times. " Some manufactures there are amongst 
them, but not a twentieth part of what the country have need of. 
Most of their clothing, both as to woollen and linen, they have 
from England." L The iron works at Lynn are well known. 
Petitions were presented for encouragement to individuals to com- 
mence various species of manufacture, such as " a Powder Mill," 
"making pitch, tar, and turpentine," "tanned leather." Spin- 
ning was encouraged in the towns. Ship-building had already 
become an extensive business. 

It deserves remark, that business was kept free from many of 
the tolls, taxes, fees, restrictions and monopolies that were so com- 
mon in England. The General Court attempted, in a few cases, 
to interfere with it ; as when it prescribed the manner in which 
certain articles should be manufactured, or prohibited individuals 
from carrying on two trades at the same time, 2 or regulated the 
prices of merchandize and labor ; and later the shrewd forestallers, 

1 Letter to a Person of Quality, London, 1689. The original of that 
tract is in Hutchinson, MSS. Coll., and also printed in Mass. Hist. Coll., 
Vol. XXXI. p. 93. 2 In 1698 a tanner could not be a shoemaker. 


as they pocketed their profits, were obliged to face the frown of an 
indignant community. Still industry and enterprise were kept, in the 
main, free from restrictions ; individuals engaged in such pursuits 
as their tastes or interests dictated, and changed them as often 
as their circumstances required. And even when the British Par- 
liament declared it to be a common nuisance for the Colonists to 
manufacture certain articles, the people, — according to John 
Adams, — disregarded the edict. "No cause," Albert Gallatin 
has remarked, " has contributed more to the prosperity of the 
country than the absence of those systems of internal restriction 
and monopoly, which continue to disfigure the state of society in 
other countries." 

The wealthy families owned one or more slaves, and these were 
variously prized in inventories, £ 15 and <£25. In 1678 a vessel 
brought about fifty into Boston, mostly women and children, who 
were sold from £ 10 to £ 20 each. It was estimated that in 1680 
there were about 120 in the Massachusetts Colony. 

The circulating medium of the Colony was partly specie and 
partly " Country Pay." The mint established in 1652 coined 
twelve-penny, six-penny and three-penny silver pieces, and contin- 
ued its operations until the period of the fall of the old charter. 
The General Court, to prevent washing and clipping, ordered the 
coin to have on each side a double ring, and on one side Massachu- 
setts, with a tree in the centre — on the other side New England 
and the year of its being issued. The symbol of a Pine Tree was 
a favorite with Massachusetts. Its State Flag bore it, and it was 
under such colors that the Bunker Hill Battle was fought. The 
Country Pay consisted of the various kinds of produce that were 
made receivable for public rates ; and there was often a wide dif- 
ference between this sort of money and cash. The government 
was generally accommodating: Andros, greedy for fees, allowed 
Hingham to pay its taxes in Milk Pails. 1 

There was no Post Office in town until after this period ; 
probably the house used in Boston for the deposit of letters, 
served for this purpose. In 1677 a petition represented that the 
letters were often thrown upon the Exchange (Boston) and im- 
portant ones were frequently lost. Mr. John Hayward, the scriv- 
ener, was appointed by the General Court to convey letters accord- 

1 Felt's History of Mass. Currency. 


ing to their direction. A general letter office was established in 
1691. Under date of May 31, 1690, John Knight of this town 
was appointed "Post." 

The facilities for travelling were few. The most common 
method was on horseback, when a man would take a lady compan- 
ion on a pillion, behind him. The more wealthy probably owned 
a few coaches : in 1668 there is mention of one being in Boston, 
when Mr. Davenport and his family entering the town " were shel- 
tered in a coach of Mr. Searl's, who went to meet him." l The 
inventories of this period name "coach-chairs" (value £15). 
The " caravans " mentioned in the records of the General Court, 
Mr. Felt supposes, were the " Stage Wagons" used to carry pas- 
sengers down to the time of the Revolution. In 1716 there was a 
"Carriage " or Stage Coach, running between Boston and Newport. 2 

To conceive of society, at this period, it must be remembered, 
that no tea was used, if coffee, but rarely, and if potatoes, only in 
small quantities. There were no concerts, scientific lectures or 
newspapers — no insurance companies or banks. A dancing 
school had been set up — it is stated — but put down. It may be 
curious to notice the introduction of these things. Tea and coffee, 
after 1700, became articles of trade, but for a long time were but 
sparingly drank. Potatoes after 1733, came slowly into general 
use. In 1744, there was in Boston, " a fine concert of Music at 
Fanueil Hall," for the benefit of the Poor, " and the thing took so 
well that the profits were at least two hundred pounds clear of all 
charges." After Franklin's renowned Electrical discoveries, E. 
Kinnersley, in 1751, gave two lectures in Fanueil Hall, " on 
the newly discovered Electrical Fire," with numerous experiments, 
which are specified at length. The tickets of admission were half 
a dollar. A newspaper was printed in 1704. The first Insurance 
Office in America was opened in Boston, in 1724, by Joseph Ma- 
rion, which was kept by the same person, in 1748, when another is 
mentioned. It appears to have been for Marine risks. An emis- 
sion of paper money was authorized in 1686, and a Bank in 1714. 
In 1723, a Dancing Master was patronized, and even allowed to 
advertise an exhibition — the " public dancing to begin at five 

1 Felt's MSS. 2 lb. Salem, p. 316. 


I have not met, in these early times, any allusion to an associa- 
tion in this town for benevolent objects, or for intellectual improve- 
ment ; the former were, most probably, carried on through the or- 
ganism of the church, and the latter was left to the common schools 
and the college. It seems needless to remark on the value placed 
upon education, from the simplest rudiments to the highest attain- 
ments, where society did its duty so faithfully in these respects. 
So watchful were the public authorities of the Common Schools, 
that, in 1691, Charlestown was presented to the County Court for 
its neglect, while it was in search of a competent teacher, and only 
saved itself from a penalty by a quick bargain ; l so clearly were their 
tendencies seen by the favorers of monarchy, that Randolph wrote 
in 1686, "We want good schoolmasters, none being allowed here 
but of ill principle ; and till provision be made to rectify the youth 
of this country, there is no hope that this people will prove royal ;" 2 
and so general was their influence, that Neal, in 1700, asserts that 
there was " hardly a child of nine or ten years old throughout the 
whole country, but can read and write, and say his catechism." 3 

But the cultivation, the refinement of the time, must not be 
placed too high. When the strictness with which morals were 
watched over is considered, it seems difficult to account for the in- 
delicacy of some of the public spectacles; those, for instance, of a 
Lecture-day in the Square. The courts frequently appointed pun- 
ishments to be administered on these days ; and after lecture was 
over, it was rather a common exhibition than a rare one, for a wo- 
man, for a heinous offence, to stand for hours on an elevated plat- 
form, or stool, in the most public places, with a label on her hav- 
ing her crime written on it in large letters ; or worse still, for her 
to be whipped (one sentence reads thirty lashes) on her bare flesh, 
in the presence of a concourse of people. There was something 
radically wrong in the moral sentiment of a community, when it tol- 
erated such corrupting scenes. Still it would be unjust to lay this 
to the exclusive door of the Puritans. This mistaken requirement 
of justice was inherited and general ; and it was the great principle 
they were, for the first time, naturalizing in society, namely, that 

1 Hutchinson's Coll., p. 553. 2 Middlesex Records. 

3 Neal's New England, p. 613. 


of an elevated individualism, that was destined in time to correct 
it. ] 

I have lingered, perhaps too long, on early colonial times. But 
they were times, when, through the favor of neglect from the 
mother country, the people enjoyed their peculiar customs, their 
local politics, their stern faith, in substantial independence. From 
the first, they had refused to ask favors of Parliament from a fear 
that the policy would lead Parliament at length to comprehend 
them in its laws; 2 and hence, of themselves, they subdued the wil- 
derness, and conquered the Savages into peace. In spite of deso- 
lating wars, the country prospered as no country had ever prospered 
before. Leading minds identified this prosperity with a mainte- 
nance of the churches in their purity ; and were inclined to measure 
this purity by continued strictness in the Puritan ritual, and a con- 
tinued reverence for the persons of magistrates and ministers. But 
intellectual freedom rebelled against too stern a discipline ; and as 
they noticed the changes time was silently producing, they pro- 
nounced them to be evidences of decay, and uttered their protest. 

A little while after 1660, according to Prince, there began to ap- 
pear a decay, and in 1670, it " grew visible and threatening." Oaks 
in 1673, asked, " What means that disgust some men have ao-ainst 
the very name and rule of authority, (truly so called,) in the elder- 
ship, against councils and synods, and the decisive power thereof." 
Hubbard, in 1676, saw the root of "disorders of all sorts" in that 
spiritual pride that was " too evident in the conceitedness of men's 
gifts, of their privileges, liberties and estates ;" " the sin of the pro- 
fessing part of the country as well as of others." Willard, in 1680, 
declared, that unless the tendency of his time was checked, "Re- 
ligion would languish and the power of godliness fail." In 1683, 
the complaint was, " that New England was not to be found in New 
England ;" and Torry printed his " Plea for the life of Dying Re- 
ligion." Willard, in 1700, asked, " What tokens are on our chil- 
dren, that it is like to be better hereafter." Higginson and Hub- 
bard put forth in 170], a testimony against prevalent " declensions 
and corruptions." Mather, in 1702, published his tract, entitled 

1 This mode of punishment continued until after the Revolution ; so long 
does a custom linger after the general sense of the community condemns 
and even revolts at it. 

2 Gov. Wmthrop under 1640. 


"The Glory departing from New England;" and in 1721, in 
mourning the changes going on, used the words, " O ! that my head 
were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears." Twenty years 
after, Prince declared things had been growing worse and worse 
ever since. Such phrases may be easily increased. 

But the noble-minded men, who thus yearned for a true glory 
for New England, did not read aright the signs of their times. 
What they called decay, was in reality progress. The decline of 
intolerance, and the growing dislike of forms, were symptoms of new 
life for Religion ; the reverence paid to magistrates deepened into 
that respect for Law, that lies at the root of the New England char- 
acter ; while the kindling idea of liberty acquired strength in every 
debate of a local community, in every protest against royal prero- 
gative, until at length it burst forth into Colonial Union and Politi- 
cal Independence. 


1686 to 1692. Sir Edmund Andros. — Land Titles. — A Petition for 
Confirmation. — Grant to Charles Lidgett. — Remonstrance of the 
Town. — Joseph Lynde's Deposition. — Riots. — A May Pole. — 
Charles Morton's Sermon, — his accusation before the Council, — his 
Trial. — The Guns carried away. — Revolution of 1689. — Action of 
Charlestown. — New Government opposed — Laurence Hammond, — 
meeting of his company, — his address. — A press-gang. — - Elective 
Rights. — Courts opposed. — Proceedings of the Council — Richard 
Sprague. — Address to the King, — comment on it. — A second Ad- 
dress : comment on it. — Fines of the County Court. — Submissions. 
— Morton's Letter. 

Charlestown, from 1686 to 1692, was in a state of much ex- 
citement. Its citizens felt the burden of arbitrary power, and en- 
gaged in the daring work of effecting its overthrow. But the 
revolutionary measures, and the principles that justified them, 
were not approved by some of the citizens ; and hence arose an 
exciting controversy, carried on by opposition to the new gov- 
ernment, addresses to the crown, and sharp pamphleteering. As 
this controversy was connected with the principles of liberty, it is 
deemed proper to dwell upon it considerably in detail ; for the 
Revolution of 1GS9 was the forerunner of that of 1775. 


In May, 1686, the First Charter was superseded ; and on the 
20th of December, Sir Edmund Andros commenced his adminis- 
tration as Governor of New England. King James authorized 
him to appoint a Council, and in concert with it to make laws, 
lay taxes, control the militia, — in a word, to rule New England. 
Popular representation was abolished. Even town meetings were 
not allowed, except for the annual choice of officers ; to assemble 
for other purposes was sedition or riot. " There is no such thing 
as a town in the whole country," remarked Andros. His commis- 
sion was full ; and until April 18, 1689, his despotism was complete. 

The course adopted with respect to titles to lands was one of 
the arbitrary measures. It was given out, that, on the forfeiture of 
the charter in 1684, all lands reverted to the crown, and that the 
owners, to hold them legally, must take out patents of confirmation 
from the new government. Forms were prescribed for this ; first 
a petition from the land-holder, then an examination by a commit- 
tee, next a survey, and then a patent. Fees were demanded at 
every step ; and these in some cases, were enormous ; an estate not 
worth ,£200 had more than £50 demanded in this way. 1 

To avoid a costly and vexatious controversy with the new gov- 
ernment, many persons petitioned for the confirmation of their 
lands. One from a citizen of this town is as follows : — 

" To his Excellency, Sir Edmund Andros, Knight, Captain General, 
Governor-in-chief, and Vice Admiral of his Majesty's Territory and Do- 
minion of New England in America. 

" The Humble Petition of Samuel Ballatt of Charlestown, Shipwright, 
Sheweth : 

" That your Petitioner for valuable considerations hath purchased of 
sundry persons, several pieces or parcels of ground within the bounds of 
Charlestown, on which are several houses, warehouses and wharves — 
built and erected, the bounds and limits whereof, will appear by his 
several deeds and conveyances for the same, and the which he hath for 
many years been in the quiet and peaceable possession and enjoyment of, 
and being desirous so to continue under his majesty — humbly prays your 
Excellency to grant him his majesty's Patent of confirmation for the same 
under such moderate quit rent or acknowledgment as to your Excellen- 
cy shall seem meet. 

And your Petitioner shall ever pray. 

Samuel Ballatt." 

The commons of several of the towns were seized and given to 
Andros's supporters. 2 One of them, Col. Charles Lidgett, petition- 

1 The Revolution in New England Justified, p. 25. 

2 A narrative of the miseries of New England. 



ed for a part of the fine tract, now Somerville, between the Ten 
Hills Farm and Cambridge, that had been recently lotted out ; and 
a notice of this petition was served on the town authorities. In 
answer, the inhabitants immediately sent to him " seven substantial 
reasons in writing thereunto," with other " cogent arguments," why 
the land should not be given away. The tract was however sur- 
veyed and laid out by Mr. Wells ; and though " there were divers 
land marks " showing the bounds of the proprietors, yet, without 
further hearing, it was confirmed, August 1, 1687, to Lidgett. 
He next prosecuted the rightful owners for cutting wood from it, 
and served a writ of intrusion upon a small farm belonging to 
James Russell, that had been improved fifty years. These irrita- 
ting proceedings appear to have been resisted, and hence further 
prosecutions. An account says, that Lidgett, by pleading his 
patent rights, carried the cases, and bound over some " that did 
not say or do any thing, and had them out of one county into 
another, backwards and forwards several times ; " and at last 
execution was granted "against them for twenty-odd pounds," 
and then they were imprisoned. The account concludes, " Oh, 
wonderful injustice." l 

Palmer, in his vindication of Andros's government, has a lame 
defence of this proceeding. He denied 1st, that Charlestown had 
a legal claim to this land, and 2d, says, 

"' It cannot be consistent with the interest of new plantations, that two 
or three hundred thousand acres of land should be taken up by a small 
number of people, who are not capable of improving one tenth part of it, 
and the rest lie vacant under the notion of commons, when persons of 
ability, equally concerned, would improve it, but cannot, because they 
are less numerous than the poorer sort of the town, whose advantage it 
is the lands should so lie, and who manage their affairs by majority of 
voices. And if the tract of land which Charlestown pretends to, were 
proportionally divided, Col. Lidgett's share (they themselves being judges) 
would have exceeded the grant." 2 

A few days later, August 10, 1687, a patent, produced in Coun- 
cil, was " allowed and approved " " for a farm in Charlestown, 
called Ten Hills, containing nine hundred acres to Lt. Col. Charles 
Lidgett at ten shillings per annum quit rent." 3 

i Mass. Archives. I have not been able to find the remonstrance of the 
town. None of the documents of the period are on the town records. 

2 Palmer's Vindication, p. 30. 

3 Council Records. This farm, in 1677, was deeded by Winthrop's 
heirs to Elizabeth Lidgett. 


A deposition of Joseph Lynde, 1 a leading citizen, gives a good 

view of the petty tyranny of the times : — 

" Joseph Lynde of Charlestown in the county of Middlesex in New Eng- 
land, being- fifty-three years of age, testifieth and saith, that in the year 
1687, Sir Edmund Andros the governor of New England did inquire of him 
said Lynde what title he had to his lands, who shewed him many deeds 
for land that he the said Lynde possessed, and particularly for land that 
said Lynde was certainly informed would, quickly be given away from 
him, if he did not use means to obtain a patent for it. The deed being 
considered by Sir Edmund Andros, he said it was worded well, and re- 
corded according to New England custom or words to the same purpose. 
He farther inquired how the title was derived, he said Lynde told him, that 
he that he bought it of, had it of hisfather-in-law in marriage with his wife, 
and his said father from Charlestown, and the said town from the general 
court grant of the Massachusetts Bay, and also by purchase from the na- 
tives. And he said, my title was nothing worth if that were all. At 
another time after shewing him an Indian deed for land, he said, their 
hand was no more worth than a scratch with a bear's paw, under-valuing 
all my titles, though every way legal under our former charter govern- 
ment. I then petitioned for a patent of my whole estate, but Mr. West 
deputy secretary told me T must have so many patents as there were 
counties that I had parcels of land in, if not towns. Finding the thing so 
chargeable and difficult I delayed, upon which I had a writ of intrusion 
served on me in the beginning of the summer 1688 ; the copy whereof is 
in the Charlestown men's complaint, and was at the same time with that 
of Mr. James Russell's, Mr. Sewall's and Mr. Shrimpton's ; it being for the 
same land in part that I shewed my title unto Sir Edmund Andros as 
above, being by myself and those I derived it from possessed, inclosed, and 
improved for about fifty years, at which time I gave Mr. Graham attorney 
general three pounds in money, promising that if he would let the action 
fall 1 would pay court charges, and give him ten pounds, when I had a 
patent completed, for that small parcel of land, that said writ was served 
upon me for, which I did because a Quaker that had the promise of it 
from the governor, as I was informed in the governor's presence, should 
not have it from me, said Lynde, having about seven acres more in the 
same common field or pasture, about a mile from this forty-nine acres, 
near unto the land said governor gave unto Mr. Charles Lidgett, of 
divers of my neighbors, which I concluded must go the same way that 
theirs went, and therefore though desired to be patented by said Lynde 
with the forty-nine acres, he could not obtain a grant for it. About the 
same time Mr. Graham attorney general asked said Lynde what he would 
do about the rest of his land, telling him the said Lynde that he would 
meet with the like trouble about all the rest of his lands, that he possessed, 
and were it not for the governor's going to New York at this time, there 
would be a writ of intrusion against every man in the colony of any con- 
siderable estate, or as many as a cart could hold, and for the poorer sort 
of people said Sir Edmund Andros would take other measures, or words 
to the same purpose. Said Lynde further saith, That after judgments ob- 
tained for small wrongs done him, triable by your own laws before a jus- 

1 This Deposition has been very incorrectly printed. It is copied in 
the text from the Mass. Archives, Vol. XXXV. p. 169. 


tice of peace, from whom they allowed no appeals in such cases, he was 
forced out of his own county by writs of false judgment ; and although at 
the first superior court in Suffolk, the thing was so far opposed by judge 
Stoughton as illegal, as that it was put by, yet the next term«by judge 
Dudley and judge Palmer, said Lynde was forced to answer. George 
Farewell attorney before that, saying in open court in Charlestown, that all 
causes must be brought to Boston in Suffolk, because that there were not 
honest men enough in Middlesex to make a jury to serve their turns, or 
words to that purpose ; nor did Suffolk, as appeared by their practice, for 
they made use of non-residents in divers cases there. I mention not my 
damage though it is great, but to the truth above written I the said Lynde 
do set to my hand. Joseph Lynde. 

Boston, January 14, 1689-90. 

Juratus coram me, John Smith, Assistant." 

James Russell, son of the late Treasurer, another prominent 
citizen, was obliged to pay three pence per acre for a patent for 
Long Island, in Casco Bay, — an estate left him by his father and 
for several years improved by Captain Davis. Mr. Russell was 
informed that if he did not take out a patent for it, Mr. Usher 
should have it. 1 

But the citizens had other causes of complaint. In May, 1687, 
there was a riot in town between some of the crew of the frigate 
" King Fisher " and some of the inhabitants. One of the con- 
stables, Timothy Phillips, " commanded the King's peace in the 
King's name," whereupon the captain of the frigate, wrested his 
staff from him, and made a pass at him. A little later there was 
another riot here with the crew of the Rose frigate, when Na- 
thaniel Adams, another constable, and " some of his neighbors " 
were stabbed. The constables waited on Sir Edmund Andros, 
related the circumstances and asked for advice. Adams deposed : 
" Hereupon he fell into a great rage, and did curse us, saying, 

*d n you, you deserve to be indicted,' and called us ill names, 

and threatened to send us to jail. Addressing Phillips, Andros 
said ; ' Look to yourself and have a care, for you are marked 
men — never come to trouble me more with any such stories.'" 2 

There were also disturbances and riots here connected with the 
introduction of Episcopacy, and the sports of the old country. 
The former, always disagreeable to the rigid congregationalists, 
was made doubly offensive by the arrogant and tyrannical course 
of Randolph in relation to forcing a support of it. On the 

1 Russell's Deposition is printed in Revolution in N. E. Justified, p. 24. 

2 Depositions in Mass. Archives. 


other hand, the ministers called the Episcopal clergyman, " Baal's 
Priest," and Episcopal prayers, " leeks, garlick, and trash." In 
1686 the Liturgy began to be used at funerals; and when, in May, 
1687, a soldier was thus buried in this town, " a disturbance 
grew," Sewall writes, " by reason of Joseph Phipps standing with 
his hat on as the parson was reading the service." At another 
time a company from Boston came over here, and " riotously pull- 
ed down whole church windows." 1 Again, a May-pole was set 
up, probably by those who favored the church of England. In 
May, 1687, it was cut down ; and it was noised about that Samuel 
Phipps, "being a selectman," "led or encouraged the watch to 
cut it down." " Now," Sewall writes, May 25, " a bigger is set 
up with a garland upon it; " but I find no further allusions to it. 2 

These proceedings, with the arbitrary imposition of taxes and 
execution of fees, produced a deep feeling of discontent. This 
was shared by the talented and patriotic minister of the town ; 
and in accordance with custom, he made, probably, the sad 
condition of the country his theme on the regular Lecture Day, — 
September 2, 1687. The sermon has not been preserved. But 
Doctor John Clark informed Andros that Mr. Morton had uttered, 
in its delivery, " several seditious expressions ; " and Randolph's 
letters characterize him as " a rank independent " and a " pro- 
moter of anti-monarchical principles : " indications that Morton, 
who had suffered from the tyranny of the old world, did not spare 
that of the new. 

The paper 3 that Dr. Clark presented to Andros containing the 
seditious language was read in the Council, November 19, when 
the informer and the offender were summoned to appear the suc- 
ceeding Wednesday. On that day, November 24, Mr. Morton 
was examined about his expressions, "part whereof he denied 
and seemed to evade or excuse the other part." Then Dr. Clark 
was examined, who affirmed the truth of his report " upon his 
oath." The Council then ordered " That the said Charles Mor- 
ton be bound over to appear at the next Superior Court in five 
hundred pounds, and that he be prosecuted for the same by in- 
formation on his majesty's behalf." 4 

i Vindication of New England, p. 21. 2 Sewall's MSS. 3 I have 
not met with this document. 4 Council Records, copies of which, in 
admirable style, have recently been procured from London by the State. 


Mr. Morton accordingly appeared before the Superior Court, 
held in this town, and desired that he might " then make answer 
or be acquitted ; " but at the request of Andros's counsel, George 
Far well, " the hearings and the bond were continued to the next 
court at Charlestown." But previous to the session of this court, 
Mr. Farwell gave notice in writing, that the case would be tried 
January 31, 1688. This court was to be holden in Suffolk county ; 
and hence the documents of the time are severe upon the govern- 
ment for ordering a trial in a county where the offence was not 
committed : for summoning him to another court, one of them says 
" to answer to the false report of a single false reporter in all re- 
spects contrary to law." One of the most prominent citizens, 
Joseph Lynde, deposes that Farwell said in open court in this 
town, " That there were not honest men enough in Middlesex 
to make a jury to serve their turns." 

Mr. Morton, through his counsel, Anthony Checkley, appeared, 
Jan. 31, 1688, and plead that the action ought not to be brought 
before that court, 1. Because he was only under bonds to appear at 
Charlestown Court. 2. Because the venue was laid in Middlesex, 
and from thence must come the venire facias. 3. " Because the 
defendent is under no precept of our Lord the King, nor under 
any obligation or recognizance, but where the fact is said to be 
done and his recognizance obligeth him:" 4. Because he had 
neither a legal nor a timely notice : " For these reasons," the 
plea reads, " the defendant declineth at this time and in this place, 
to plead to the matter of the information, which he hopeth he may 
do by law without reflection upon either the honored court, jury 
or informer." l 

In addition to the charge against the officers of summoning Mr. 
Morton out of his county, there is that of packing the jury. One 
juryman was summoned who lived two hundred miles distant, and 
was Mr. Morton's bitter enemy ; and another was not a house- 
holder. Several of the pamphlets of the time allude to the case; 
and those of the popular side speak of it as a causeless and mali- 
cious prosecution. Though the defendant was acquitted, 2 the 
trial, judging from other cases, must have been perplexing and ex- 

1 Morton's Plea is preserved in Mass. Archives. 

2 Vindication of New England, p. 10. 


pensive. It gained for Mr. Morton, however, the affection of the 
people and made him prominent among his associates of the min- 
istry. Randolph charges them with being the " chief promoters 
of the rebellion " that ensued : "All things," he wrote the next 
year, " are carried on by a factious rabble animated and encour- 
aged by the crafty ministers." 

But few entries were made on the town books in 1688 : one of 
them reads as follows : — 

" At a meeting of the Selectmen, May 15, 1688, it was then ordered 
that it be entered in the town book that Mr. Bantam, his Majesty's gov- 
ernor of the port or block house at Boston, did on the ninth day of this 
month carry away the great guns (from the battery in this town) viz. 
three sakers, and three **** with a whole culverin, — they being all 
iron guns with a quantity of shot appertaining to them." 

These measures prompted the people to resistance. On the 
18th of April, 1689, upon a rumor that the Prince of Orange had 
landed in England, the people of Boston and vicinity affected a 
revolution. " About two of the clock (the Lecture being put by) the 
town was generally in arms, and so many of the country came in 
that there were twenty companies in Boston, besides a great many 
that appeared in Charlestown that could not get over, (some say 
fifteen hundred)." 1 Andros, and some of his friends, among 
whom was Col. Lidgett, were imprisoned. Captain Richard 
Sprague of this town led his company in Boston on this occasion. 2 

A government was instituted entitled " A Council for the safety 
of the People and Conservation of the Peace." On the 2d of 
May, this Council recommended an assembly of representatives 
to be convened ; and on the 9th sixty-six delegates met, and called 
another meeting on the 22d, — recommending each town to ex- 
press its views on the public affairs. Those of Charlestown were 
expressed as follows : — 

" The Inhabitants of Charlestown, convened this 21st day of May, 
Anno Dom. 1689, do declare as followeth : — 

" That, forasmuch as our dependence (under God) is upon the Crown 
and Government of England : and that God hath wonderfully succeeded the 
high and noble undertakings of his Highness the Prince of Orange, for 
the suppression of popery, and advancement of the protestant religion in 
that and the neighboring nations : We being willing and desirous also to 
reap with them the benefit of so great a blessing ; and that we may join our 
prayers with theirs unto the God of our salvation ; we do desire the 
honoured Council, now in being at Boston, may be continued for the 

1 Byfield's Account. 2 Vindication of New England, 


conservation of the peace in the present exigent. And that the militia 
may be so settled and disposed as that all orders issuing from the Coun- 
cil for our peace and safety, may be by all men readily and duly obeyed, 
until it shall please God, in his abundant mercy towards us, to settle us 
under such a government, as shall be for his glory, the prosperity of this 
people, and correspondent with the wisdom of the government of Eng- 
land : for which we desire heartily to pray and humbly to wait. 

The above written was voted by the Inhabitants of Charlestown, nemine 
eontradicente- As attests, 

Laur. Hammond, 
Jacob Green, Senior, 
John Cutler, Senior." 1 

The representatives of fifty-four towns assembled on the22d, — 
and forty of the towns were in favor of a re-assumption of the old 

The next proceeding of this town is recorded as follows. " At 
a legal meeting of the inhabitants of Charlestown, June 17, 1689, 
it was fully voted, that all officers then chosen should stand in 
their offices no longer than till the first of March, that the town 
might come to their former order in those matters." 

At this meeting town officers were elected, — among them 
Samuel Phipps, who had been a selectman, commissioner and re- 
corder, was chosen constable. The following is the next record : 

" At a meeting of the Selectmen of Charlestown June 19, 1689, it was 
then ordered that the following should be entered into the Town Book : 

" Boston, June 13, 1689. At the convention of the governor and 
council and representatives of the Massachusetts Colony, it is declared, 
that all the towns in this jurisdiction may, as they shall see meet, re- 
spectively make choice of constables, selectmen, and other town officers as 
they were wont to do before the change of the government in May, 1686, 
according to the laws of this Colony then in force, and the persons so 
chosen are hereby empowered to act in their several places accordingly." 

A few of the citizens, some of them sustaining high offices, op- 
posed the subsequent proceedings. They had sworn allegiance 
to the Crown of England, and could not regard the government, 
established by the people, as legitimate, so long as it lacked the 
sanction of royal authority. Hence they refused to acknowl- 
edge it. 

Captain Laurence Hammond was one of these citizens. He 
had been town-clerk, a selectman, a clerk of the court under 
Andros, and was commander of one of the military companies. 
By a vote of the Convention, the officers in power, May 12, 1686, 
were declared to be restored to their places. Although this order 

1 Mass. Archives, Vol. CVII. 


secured to Captain Hammond his office, yet his known opposition 
to the new government appears to have prompted many of his com- 
pany to desire a new election of officers. At their request the 
members, " warned by beat of drum," assembled, July 2, at eight 
o'clock ; when the captain inquired " what they desired a meeting 
for?" One of the company replied that "The actor order of 
the Council would inform him." This order was then read, when 
the Captain asked, " Whether they were willing to proceed accord- 
ing to the Council's act?" No direct answer was given, and after 
some delay, the order was read a second time, and the question put 
again. Another member, a private, asked : " If he (Hammond) 
were to continue in captain, by what commission would he hold 
his place, whether by Sir Edmund's or his former commission re- 
ceived before 1688 ? " The captain replied, " He came not there 
to answer their impertinent questions;" and again declared that 
he stood by the order, and decided that the company had the 
liberty of choosing officers " only to such places as were vacant " 
by the terms of the order. Several then said, "They would not 
be debarred of their liberty." Capt. Hammond declared that if 
the company would not adhere to the words of the order, but 
choose new officers, " He would have no hand in it." He then 
handed an address to " Ensign Call " and left the company. He 
alluded, at the commencement, to his being chosen Lieutenant in 
1668 by the company, and his appointment of captain upon the 
death of Richard Sprague : he said the former was prompted by a 
" strange kind of fancy or affection they bore towards him ; " and 
that his chief inducement to accept the latter was "the company's 
entire affection for him :" and concluded as follows : — 

" I say your love hath been the cause thereof, which I have at least 
apprehended to be real, by manifold demonstrations, all which may be 
comprised in these two, viz. : Your ready and orderly obedience to my 
directions and commands, and your long bearing with and covering of my 
many infirmities, which have attended me in the execution of my place. 
Evident it is, other motives or encouragements 1 have had none, to oblige 
my continuance in this service twenty-one years. Trouble and charge 
are appendages of such places, of which I have had my share. Nothing 
but love hath been the cement between us hitherto, and so long as love, 
unity and concord were maintained among us, it did outweigh all other 

" But now observing a discontented, factious, censorious, unreasonable 
and mutinous spirit to spread among us, and the old, peaceable, rulable, 
genuine spirit to languish (though I am satisfied in the fidelity and good 



humor of the generality of the officers, and do hope well concerning the 
major part of the soldiery) I am discouraged from bearing any longer 
command among you. And forasmuch as the Governor and Council with 
the representatives, have granted you the liberty of the choice of your 
own officers, I do advise you to make choice of such who may be duly 
qualified to promote the public good, and whom you can love, honor and 
obey; and forasmuch as change is desirable to mankind and, that I may 
no longer stand in your way, nor in the way of some other person more 
meet and able to be your leader than ever I have been, or am like to be, I 
do hereby declare myself to be free and discharged from that place and 
office I have for so long a time borne among you. And as I have hitherto 
maintained a true love and respect for you all, so shall it remain and con- 
tinue in my more private capacity, which shall at all times appear as 
occasion shall offer in any way within my power except that of com- 
mand ; and as we have for so long a time been united in love, so it 
is my desire we may part in love. Wishing you and your officers 
may always unite in love, for the peaceable and effectual carrying to an 
end all your public affairs for the Glory of God and the public good, 
which shall be the continual prayer of 

Your true friend, lover and fellow at arms, 
July 2, 1689. L.Hammond." 1 

After this address was read, the majority determined to proceed 
to the nomination of officers, and Capt. Hammond's friends, protest- 
ing against the proceeding, withdrew. The company then nomi- 
nated John Phillips, Esq., for Captain ; Captain John Call, Lieu- 
tenant, and Samuel Kettle, Ensign. The dissenting members, 
however, petitioned for a new nomination, which was granted ; 
when Captain Hammond, Nathaniel Dowse, Lieutenant, and Na- 
thaniel Rand, Ensign, were nominated by two-thirds of the votes. 
This choice was not allowed by the Convention ; but it passed 
a vote confirming those officers in commission May 12, 16S6, 
which left Capt. Hammond in command. 

It was a time of war with the Indians, and on the 22d of August 
he received an order "to impress twelve able men out of the two 
companies of this town," to appear at Woburn on the 28th inst, 
at noon. Six men were impressed by Capt. Hammond's order, 
who, under various pretences, refused to serve. " Nor," he wrote, 
" could other men be found, the noise of a press having frightened 
most men capable of service out of the town." One of his cor- 
porals, after impressing two men, refused to make a legal return 
of them. " Whereupon," the Captain says, " I ordered the im- 
pressing of him, which is done; judging it but reasonable, that he 

1 Mass. Archives. 


that will not do his duty as an officer, should serve as a private 
soldier." l 

Another transaction, of a civil nature, shows the independent 
spirit of the town, and the tenacity with which it clung to its lib- 
erties. It elected Samuel Phipps, a graduate of Harvard, to the 
office of constable; and the only way in which he could legally 
avoid serving, was to pay a small fine. This he refused to do, 
but, August 9, 16S6, complained of the town's action to the gov- 
ernment, and asked release from the fine on the ground that he 
was a master of arts and kept a grammar school. The govern- 
ment, "judging it unreasonable and not customary to choose per- 
sons so qualified and improved " to serve in this capacity, excused 
Mr. Pbipps, and ordered the town to make another choice. This 
was a direct interference with its elective rights ; and the inhab- 
itants, August 13, resolved not to comply with the order, and as- 
signed their reasons in the following petition, 2 too long, perhaps, 
to insert, but too curious to abridge : — 

" To the Honored Governor and Council and Representatives sitting in 

" We the inhabitants of Charlestown being duly convened this 13th day 
of August, 1689, in return to an order of the Governor and Council bear- 
ing date the 9th instant, for our proceeding to the choice of another per- 
son to the constable's office in our town, instead of Mr. Samuel Phipps, 
who by said order is said to be dismissed, do humbly offer our reasons for 
not proceeding according to the tenor of said order as follows : — 

"1. We apprehend it to be just and reasonable that when two parties 
are concerned in any controversy to be determined by lawful judges, the 
pleas and allegations of each party ought to be first heard and duly con- 
sidered, whereby the whole truth may appear before judgment can regu- 
larly pass upon the case : we wonder not that Mr. Phipps hath made his 
own case good when there was none to respond. 

" That Mr. Phipps was sometime student at the College and had the de- 
gree of Master of Arts confirmed upon him, we deny not. But that there- 
fore it is unreasonable (as the order saith) for him to be chosen to, and to 
serve in the office of a constable, we cannot conceive : 

" 1. Because no law we know of exempts him therefrom. 2. Because 
other men under the same circumstances have been chosen and served or 
fined to the same office — instances whereof can be produced in Boston. 
3. If Masters of Arts will take up secular employments and become secu- 
lar men ; as merchants, adventurers, common traders, shop-keepers, and 
will accept of other civil offices, as selectman, town recorder, town treas- 
urer, &c, why may they not be chosen and serve as constables (which 

1 The men impressed were Zechariah Johnson, Jacob Waters, John 
Simpson, Sen., Hopewell Davis, John Lowden, John Kettle. — Mass. 

2 This Petition is in Mass. Archives. 


is an honorable place) who. reaping the same benefits, ought to help bear 
the same burdens with other men of the same employments. 

" That this is applicable to our present subject, all that are acquainted 
with the person and his communications need no further evidence. 

" True it is, some years since under a pretence of applying himself to 
the ministry, he was by ourselves dismissed from the same offide of aeon- 
stable to which we had chosen him : but finding it to have been no other 
but a pretence, we are not willing to be again deluded. 

" Moreover, if the instructing- two or three youths in a private way in his 
house, as his other occasions will permit (for his private benefit) in gram- 
mar learning, at the desire of their friends, will give him the reputation 
of keeping a grammar school, so be it. In like manner may any other 
man, that hath skill in the Latin tongue in vacant hours do. Bui we con- 
cieve except he were chosen by the town, or settled by authority in a just 
and regular way of keeping a public grammar school, he can therefore be 
no more exempted from serving in the office of constable than any other 
ingenious person who may privately instruct youth in any part of the 
doctrine of the mathematics ; which deservedly claims an honorable es- 
teem among men. 

" 2. We judge it unreasonable and neighboring upon oppression to im- 
pose all burdensome, unprofitable and difficult offices upon men of the lower 
rank in a town ; while others, who are, or would be esteemed, some of 
the first in the town, shall bear no burden, when no law or just reason 
can excuse them. 

"3. If the laws made in former years by the General Court be now in 
force, we plead the law Titled Townships, Sect. 4. And a later law 
made in March, 1680, to warrant our choice, which liberty we are not 
willing to part with. 

" 4. This town being a haven for shipping, and exposed to riots and 
routs by rude strangers frequenting the same, as woful experience hath 
lately shown, we conceive it necessary, especially under our present un- 
settlements, that our head constable should be a man of more than ordi- 
nary parts, for the discreet management of himself upon such occasions 
for keeping the peace, &c. We therefore have made choice of Mr. 
Phipps as a meet person (we hope) for such a service ; whose personal 
business and employment can be no more a bar thereunto than the em- 
ploymerrts of other men. 

" Finally. We cannot yet believe that the honored Convention (after due 
consideration of the premises) will debar us of our just liberties allowed 
us by law, especially when arbitrary government hath been so lately con- 
demned, and do hope our not attending the above cited, but adhering to 
our first choice, will admit of no other construction, than an innocent 
pleading and maintaining our said liberties, which is the uttermost of our 
design, wherein not this town alone but all others are concerned. 

" Submitting ourselves to all your lawful and just determinations, we 
are yours and the country's servants. 

" Signed in the name, and by the order of the inhabitants of Charlestown. 

John Fowle, 
Andrew Stimson, 


The opposition to the new government produced great excite- 
ment in the Colony. The convention declared, July 4, 1689, that 
' all courts of judicature, as formerly held within this Colony," 


should be holden at such times and places as were provided in a 
law in reference to them " until further settlement." Acting 
under such authority, James Russell appointed a court at Cam- 
bridge on the first Tuesday in October. Thomas Graves objected 
to this proceeding in the following " writing." 

" The writing delivered to James Russell of Charlestown, Esq., by 
Thomas Graves, Esq., Judge of their Majesty's inferior Court of Pleas, 
and one of their Majesty's Justices of the Peace within the County of 

" To James Russell, of Charlestown, Esq., to be communicated to any 
others that are in like manner w r ith yourself concerned herein. 

"Sir, — Forasmuch as I am credibly informed, that yourself with 
some other pretended magistrates, intend on the first Tuesday in October 
next, to meet together at Cambridge to keep a pretended Court of Judica- 
ture, not having any authority from our Sovereign Lord and Lady, King 
William and Queen Mary, enabling you so to do, I therefore, considering 
the obligation lying upon me, by the commissioner of the peace for this 
county of Middlesex, as also by a commission to be judge of the inferior 
court of pleas in said county, both from the Crown of England; neither 
of which (although I have by the late tumults, not yet stilled, been hin- 
dered from executing the power therein to me committed) is yet legally 
vacated, or superseded: lean do no less to show my loyalty to the 
Crown of England than to signify unto you that any such meeting can be 
looked upon no otherwise than as contrary to the peace of our Sovereign 
Lord and Lady, King William and Queen Mary, their crown and dignity ; 
and therefore, I must, on their Majesties' behalf, warn you, that you pre- 
sume not to assemble at Cambridge, or any other place within this coun- 
ty, for any such unlawful purpose aforesaid ; but that you do at all times 
bear good faith and allegiance to their sacred Majesties, as you will an- 
swer the contrary at your peril. 

" Dated at Charlestown, this 21st day of September, in the first year of 
the reign of our Sovereign Lord and Lady, King William and Queen 
Mary, Anno Dom., 1689." 1 

This course was sanctioned by Captain Richard Sprague, Cap- 
tain Laurence Hammond, Deacon John Cutler, and his son, John 
Cutler, Jr., — all leading citizens. On the 23d of September 
there was a town meeting in reference to it, the proceedings of 
which, however, are not on the records. The above named citi- 
zens were complained of to the Council, for "misdemeanors" at 
this meeting, and for publishing this " seditious writing," and sum- 
moned to appear before it. Judge Graves, and the others, met the 
Council September 24. The writing was read to them, and " Mr. 
Bradstreet, (governor,) made a speech to Mr. Graves." The an- 
swer of the latter was in the following terms : — 

" As to the paper delivered to Mr. James Russell, I judge I did but my 

1 The People's Right of Election. 


duty in it, and therefore cannot in conscience recede from it, and I shall 
be ready to answer King William and Queen Mary whensoever they or 
any authorized from them shall call me to an account for the same. I 
am sworn to the Crown of England, and yourselves have proclaimed 
King William and Queen Mary to he the rightful sovereigns of the realms 
and territories belonging thereunto, and therefore I cannot own any law- 
ful authority in any until I be legally informed that they have commission 
from their sacred Majesties. Thomas Graves." 1 

The offenders, Graves, Hammond, and the two Cutlers, were 
ordered to give a bond of one hundred pounds for their appearance 
at the Middlesex Court, or be imprisoned. They declined to en- 
ter into bonds, and were imprisoned by confinement to their houses. 
The town was full of excitement about this subject : " men of 
Charlestown and several towns thereabouts," — a letter of October 
25, says, "threaten to pull down the jail if they put them (Graves, 
&/C.) in." 2 It was reported that this " was the most ill-affected, 
distracted and divided town in the country." 3 The government 
ordered Sprague, Hammond and Cutler to be deprived of their 
commands in the militia; and Captain Sprague was even expelled 
from the House of Representatives. The precept issued to the 
town, October 4, for a new choice, was as follows : — 
" To the Constables of Charlestown : 

" Whereas Captain Richard Sprague has rendered himself incapable of 
serving their Majesties as a representative, by his contemptuous carriage 
against this government, for which he is excluded this house : You are 
therefore forthwith to signify to your town that they have liberty to 
choose another meet person to serve in his place. 

Ebenezer Prout, 

Boston, October 4, 1689. Clerk of the Representatives."* 

In the fall, this party sent to England the following Address : 

" To the King's most excellent Majesty. 

" The humble Address of sundry your Majesty's subjects, inhabitants 
in Charlestown. 

" We, your Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, being deeply 
sensible of the admirable blessings, by the Almighty's providence, bestow- 
ed on your Majesty and all your subjects, in making your Majesty the 
true defender and maintainer of the protestant religion and the laws and 
liberties of the English nation, and placing you upon the throne of these 
kingdoms, do return our hearty and unfeigned thanks to God for his great 
goodness therein. And in all humility offer to your Majesty our duty 
and allegiance with our continued prayers for your Majesty's long, happy 
and prosperous reign over us. That as the sun gives heat and warmth 
to the utmost parts of the earth, so we may be influenced and cherished 
by your Majesty's grace and favor, and be made partakers of those com- 

1 The People's Right of Election. 2 Felt's MSS. 

3 Vindication of New England, p. 19. 4 Mass. Archives. 


mon benefits which your Majesty's great clemency and goodness distribu- 
ted to all your subjects. 

" We cannot but truly lament the great disorder and confusion these 
parts are brought into by the rash and inconsiderate actions and designs 
of a disaffected prevailing party amongst us, who, upon strange and 
groundless pretences, did in the month of April past seize and imprison 
the person of the governor, several members of the council, the judges, 
justices and several other principal officers and ministers, and take into 
their possession and command your Majesty's several forts and garrisons, 
disband your forces, and thereby wholly subvert and overthrow the 
government established by your Majesty's predecessor, discharging and 
hindering all other officers from the further observance and executing 
of their respective offices, and setting up and placing instead thereof several 
scenes and representations of government and jurisdiction as uneasy 
and unsafe for your Majesty's subjects as unwarrantable for them to act. 
Whereby not only some of us but many other your Majesty's good sub- 
jects are brought under great hardships and inconveniences for maintain- 
ing and asserting your Majesty's right and sovereignity here (which by 
many is too much disregarded) and refusing to comply with their exor- 
bitant, irregular and arbitrary actings and proceedings. Having hearts 
full of duty and loyalty to your Majesty, we chose rather to continue 
faithful under our sufferings, though to our considerable damage, besides 
the great loss and spoil and inconveniencies that this whole country in 
general hath already sustained and is likely to sustain thereby, the par- 
ticulars whereof are too tedious here to relate. 

" And as we are fully satisfied we can have no redress or relief herein 
under God, but from your Majesty's abundant goodness and compassion, 
which, in all dutifulness, we humbly implore may be extended toward us. 
And that your Majesty would be graciously pleased to afford your favor 
and protection to your Protestant subjects here, in settling such form and 
method of government over them as in your great wisdom shall be thought 
most proper and agreeable for your Majesty's service, and the good and 
welfare of your subjects, that they may not be wholly estranged from and 
denied the benefit of the laws of England. And that all persons holding 
the fundamentals of faith and order may be amicably treated and accord- 
ing to the rules of Christian charity. The which alone can heal our 
breaches and compose our disorders, and save us and others your Majes- 
ty's subjects from being a prey to our French and Iudian enemies, who in 
this present posture of affairs, have too great advantages against us. 

" We humbly beg your Majesty's gracious acceptance of this our Ad- 
dress, being from persons wholly devoted to your Majesty's service in all 
duty and obedience. And who account it their greatest happiness to be 
esteemed really they are, 

Your Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects. 
Thomas Graves, Richard Sprague, 

Richard Hooper, Jno. Cutler, Jr., 

Timothy Hawkins, Jerahmeel Bowers, 

Samuel Whitmore, John Jackson, 
Andrew Mitchell, Wm. Richardson, 

John Roeinson, Thomas Weld, Jr." 1 

1 This Address, from the Mass. Archives, appears to be a copy. The 
original was probably sent to England. In the copy here, the christian 
name of Bowers, and the surname of Weld, Jr., are not given. I have 
supplied them from MSS. loaned me by Mr. Felt. 


The following comments on this Address are from a pamphlet 

issued by the popular party : — 

" This address is an accusation of the country for the rashness and in- 
considerateness committed in the revolution : and after some other scurvy 
flashes and reflections, which were at leisure to deal with, they should 
have their due, they come at last to petition that they might not be es- 
tranged from the laws of England. The meaning of all which is easy to 
be interpreted ; in short they like not Charter Government, and let them 
abound in their own sense. As for the plantations having some things 
diverse from the laws of England, it is no more than all the other English 
plantations in America may have affirmed of them. We could never 
learn that New England varies from any laws of England, that would be 
proper, or were by the King and Parliament intended for such a country. 
However, this Address is subscribed by Thomas Graves, late judge of 
the county court ; Richard Sprague, late captain of the trained band, 
who appeared at the head of his company to assist in the above mentioned 
revolution in the day thereof; and ten more, of which one was a Sir 
Edmund's captain, one is in our copy subscribed Bowers, without a 
christian name, and no wonder if he be a Quaker. "We suppose it is that 
Quaker who was one of Sir Edmund's setters, and begged of him his 
neighbor's lands, that lay as convenient for him as Naboth's vineyard did 
for Ahab ; that Quaker who with a brutish bawling used to disturb christ- 
ian assemblies, and more particularly one just as they were entering on 
the celebration of the Lord's Supper. We shall not count it worth while 
to trouble the world with particular characters of the other subscribers : 
most of them have on some account or other labored under infamy ; and 
several of them are of that congregation who owned that other address, 
there of the Church of England, here inhabitants of Charlestown, where- 
in they discover their very good will to wound and rend that honest 
country in as many capacities as they can. And why all inhabitants of 
Charlestown ; are not at least four of the twelve inhabitants of other 
towns? Must they scum Watertown and Cambridge also, for a panel of 
twelve honest men and true, to pack a Charlestown jury, for condemning 
New England's Charter privileges? This is strange ; but the strangest 
of all is, that any men of reputation (such as Mr. Graves and Mr. 
Sprague) should mingle themselves f in any design, with such a lewd, 
sorry, shabby and obscure crew ! " 1 

In a short time the party opposed to the revolutionary proceed- 
ings, sent a second Address to the Crown, not naming William or 
Mary. It commenced as follows : — 

" To the King's most Excellent Majesty. The bumble address of 
divers of the gentry, merchants and others, your Majesty's loyal and duti- 
ful subjects, inhabiting in Boston and Charlestown, and places adjacent, 
within your Majesty's territory and dominion of New England in Amer- 

After representing the distressed state of the country it conclu- 
ded : — 
" Dread Sovereign : We, your poor, loyal, distressed subjects, there- 

1 Vindication of New England, p, 19. 


fore heartily supplicate your royal favor to be extended towards us, in. 
commiserating our lamentable estate, and that you will be graciously 
pleased to take us into your immediate care and protection, and send us 
such speedy relief and assistance, as in your princely wisdom shall seem 
most meet, to save us and ours, together with your Majesty's interest in 
these parts, from total ruin." 

This Address was afterwards printed in a pamphlet in London, 
together with a letter dated " Charlestown, Nov. 22, 1690, signed 
L. H., — undoubtedly Laurence Hammond. It will be noticed 
that the document does not say which sovereign was addressed, — 
whether King James or King William. A severe criticism on the 
Address and Letter was printed, the same year, in London, entitled 
" The Humble Address of the Publicans of New England, to 
which King you please. A Publican is a creature that lives upon 
a commonwealth." * This pamphlet speaks in the following man- 
ner of the " Commonwealth Notions " that, the British spies al- 
leged, and not incorrectly, were growing rapidly in New England : 

" But the great cry of our Publicans, and by which they would scare 
us out of our wits, is, a commonwealth, a commonwealth ; nay, we dare 
not speak, act, write, work, nor sit still, for +'ear of a commonwealth : 
One would wonder what should occasion all this fear, distraction and 
disorder in our Publicans about a commonwealth ; but to do them right, 
they have more cause to be at their wit's end, when they think, hear or 
speak of a commonwealth, than every one thinks ; for those state chemists 
have been hard at work, ever since the days of that mighty hunter Nim- 
rod, to invent a perfect perpetual tyranny ; and commonly when they have 
e'en just done it, to about the same degree Agrippa was a Christian ; one 
unhappy accident or other comes over it ; and necessitates one extremity 
to produce another, and so all blows up into a commonwealth. This has 
happened to them not once nor thrice, but so many thousand times, that 
they are now grown hairbrained, and quite beside themselves ; and their 
many and surprising frights have brought them into a continual fancy, 
that every house, town, island, county, colony, plantation, ship, or any 
thing they hear, see, or speak of will presently turn to a commonwealth. 
And to say the truth on't, its no wonder they are in this pickle about it, 
for they have been longer at work upon it, and met with far more disap- 
pointments, than all the projectors of the philosopher's stone, and maleable 
glass have ever done." 2 

In December, Captain Sprague and John Cutler, Jr., were ar- 
raigned before the Middlesex county court for publishing the 
" Seditious Libel," forbidding the courts to assemble : the former 
was acquitted, but the latter was found guilty, and sentenced to 

1 I have not met with the letter signed L. H. The Criticism on it is 
in the Boston Athenaeum. 

2 The Humble Address of the Publicans of New England, &c, p. 13. 



pay a fine of twenty pounds. Captain Hammond, who had been 
appointed Recorder, refused to give up the records in his posses- 
sion, — alleging that no authority from William and Mary had 
ordered them to be given up. This opposition, however, ceased 
when the Crown authorized the Colonial authorities to continue 
the government. The submission of Captain Hammond and 
Deacon Cutler was made in the following letter : — 

" To the Honored Governor and Council sitting in Boston. 

" Honored Gentlemen : It having pleased his Majesty to authorize 
and empower you to continue your care in the administration of the gov- 
ernment and keeping the peace in this his Colony of the Massachusetts. 
In obedience to his Majesty whose subjects we are, we do cheerfully sub- 
mit ourselves thereunto. And do therefore now apply to your honors, 
humbly praying that what hath been by us done in the vacancy of such 
authority may not now be imputed to us a contempt of authority, or a 
factious breach of the peace. For God, who is the searcher of hearts, 
He knows, and we are sure doth acquit us from any such purpose or de- 
sign, the guilt whereof we have always dreaded and abhorred. 

" Let, we pray you, an almost three months' confinement to our houses, 
and many other damages attending the same, together with this our 
serious promise (which will be to us as binding as a bond) to demean our- 
selves for the future as good subjects to their Majesties and their govern- 
ment here, and peaceably towards all men, expiate for the faults you 
judge we have committed, and that you wili cause to cease any further 
prosecution of us for the same, and that we may have free liberty to at- 
tend our occasions. 

" However we have been represented by some, and reputed by many 
(in this hour and hurry of temptation and distraction, which doubtless 
ought on all hands to be considered) we are and ever shall be true lovers 
of our country, and shall heartily pray for, and otherwise endeavor, as we 
are able, by all lawful ways, the promoting the weal and prosperity there- 
of, both in Church and in State. 

"Praying that all your councils may terminate in the glory of God 
and the peace and settlement of his afflicted people here, we are 

Honored gentlemen, their Majesties faithful subjects 
and your humble servants, 

Laur. Hammond, 
John Cutler, Sen." i 

In March, 1690, John Cutler, Jr., tendered his submission; 
and there was attached to it the name of his father. They stated 
that their opposition was at a time " Wherein the spirits of men 
were much discomposed, and many rash, indeliberate things were 
done;" and expressing their "entire good will to the peace and 
establishment of this people," asked to be released from the fine 

i Mass. Archives, Vol. XXXV. No date is attached to this letter, 
but it was probably written about Dec. 1689. 


that had been imposed. In aid of this petition, Rev. Charles 
Morton sent to the Convention this letter : — 

"March 11, 1689-90. 

" Hon'd Sirs: It becomes one in my place to promote (as I am able) 
the peace of my neighbors, and therefore I hope you will pardon the bold- 
nessof this Address. I understand Mr. John Cutler, Jr., has presented an 
humble petition to the Hon'd Court for the remission of his fine and drop- 
ping his appeal. I am well persuaded that 'tis not for the destruction but 
reformation of any person, that you impose at any time legal penalties. 
And therefore where the end is attained (and the case will bear it) mercy 
rejoiceth over judgment. He has professed to me, that, as he hath not 
joined with any to petition against the present government, or a change 
thereof for a general governor or otherwise, so he will make it his care to 
demean himself for the future in such manner, as shall give no just occa- 
sion of offence. But will quietly attend his own business according to 
his private station in peace and love among his neighbors. And as to the 
public, that he will not meddle farther than he shall be regularly called 
thereunto. And then he shall be ready to do his utmost for the public 
good. How far the proceedings already past may serve to caution others, 
or prevent future disturbances in the management of the government, I 
must leave to your honors' wisdoms ; yet please to permit me (ut amicus 
curie) to suggest a few things to your consideration. The man won by 
kindness may be worth the having. He has adventured far int he country's 
service, and may again upon called thereunto. The fine being so consider- 
able may make a great hole in a small estate, which must maintain a 
growing family. And while I speak to Christian magistrates, I may be 
bold to intimate my hopes that it will not a little conduce to the success of 
my ministry, (to the glory of Christ) if I may have the honor to be an 
effectual intercessor for my people's ease. You may please to communi- 
cate these my thoughts according to your prudence. And as I beg par- 
don for another I must crave the same for myself, that I have made thus 
bold with you. 

*' That the God of Heaven will direct and bless your affairs, and happily 
settle this poor country, is the daily supplication of 

" Your honor's well wisher and humble servant, 

Charles Morton." 1 

In 169 1, 9 the political excitement in town appears to have sub- 
sided, and in 1692 a new charter was obtained from England. 
Captain Hammond in a short time removed to Boston. Captain 
Sprague was on the Board of Selectmen, and until his death con- 
tinued to represent the town in the General Court. Deacon Cut- 

1 Mass. Archives. 

2 A few items, illustrative of the times, have been reserved for a note. 
When Andros landed, in 1686, the guns of the battery were fired on a 
signal from the Boston Town House. In 1686, Sept. 13th, Rev. Cotton 
Mather preached a sermon before the Artillery Company of this county, 
on which occasion the President and Deputy President were present. 
This Company Sewall writes, " had like to have been broken up, the ani- 
mosity being so high between Charlestown and Cambridge men about thQ 


ler served also in the latter capacity. Thomas Graves a physician 
died soon after (1697), universally respected for his learning and 
talents. Although these citizens did not approve of the proceed- 
ings subsequent to April 18th, yet Sprague and Hammond were 
classed by Randolph, in 1681, as of the popular party, or " faction," 
against whom he exhibited " articles of high misdemeanor," l and 
the heads of which, in 1682, he proposed to prosecute and fine 
"for their treasons." 2 Samuel Nowell, of this town, a prominent 
citizen who went to England, about 1685, Randolph also charac- 
terizes as " a late factious preacher." 3 

All these citizens, with Lynde, Russell, Phillips and Morton, 
stand out, in the annals of the times, and deserve to be remember- 
ed by posterity, as strong defenders of the constitutional rights of 
the colony. 

The revolutionary proceedings, so indicative of the daring 
spirit of the Colonists, and of their love of liberty, were regarded, 
not only with astonishment, but alarm. They suggested the infer- 
ence (in 1689) that those who justified them designed "to cast off 
their dependence and obedience to the crown of England ; " and it 
was said " that this would end in the utter ruin of the English in- 
terest here," and leave the colonies " a prey to all nations, when 
the wild beast shall pass by and tread down the thistle." 4 This 
charge continued to be made as often as the spirit manifested in 
1689, was exhibited. In 1701 the Lords of Trade declared " The 
independence the colonies now thirst after is notorious ; " Quar- 
ry wrote home in 1703 that " Commonwealth Notions improve 
Daily;'" and it was said in print in 1705, "The colonists will 
in process of time, cast off their allegiance to England, and set 
up a government of their own." 5 

place of training. la 1687, Feb. 25th, Andros visited this town, on which 
occasion there was a military display — " an extraordinary meeting of the 
militia, — when the government paid "for beer and cider given to the 
drummer and soldiers " of the town. The General Court held a session 
in this town, March, 14th, 1690, on account of the small pox being in 
B iston. On the 6th of July, 1689, the government ordered " a watch 
an 1 ward to be kept up " at the causeway, at the Neck, " to examine all 
Indians travelling to or from the town," and " to search their baskets or 
other carriage for powder." 
i Hutch. Collection, p. 526. 2 lb., p. 535. 3 lb., p. 535. 

4 The People's Right to Election (1689) p. 14. 

5 Bancroft, Vol. III. p. 108. 



1692 to 1764. — Witchcraft. — Cary's Narrative. — Attack on Billerica. — 
Col. Lynde's Expedition. — Town Expenses. — Execution in Charles 
River. — Town Clock. — School House Controversy. — New Meeting 
House. — The Lecture Hour. — Bridge over Charles River. — Innoc- 
ulation. — Fire Engine. — Insurance Office. — Stoneham. — Paving. — 
Town's Income. — Ministerial House. — Court House. — Riot. — 
Illumination. — Burglary. — Punishment. — The Town in 1741. — 
A Potter's Kiln. — A Comet. — Bounty to Soldiers. — Sale of Pews. 
— Forestallers. — Private School. — Slaves. — Small Pox. — A Spin- 
ning School. — Fish Market. — French Neutrals. — Impressment. — 
An Execution. — Minister's Salary. 

Charlestown, for seventy years, affords but few materials for 
a continuous narrative, either in its civil or its ecclesiastical history. 
Yet the short and simple annals of this period are well worthy of 
notice ; for they afford glimpses of the social life of the com- 
munity, show the gradual increase of municipal conveniences, 
and reflect the folly or the wisdom of the times. 

1692. This year was a memorable one in the History of New 
England, signalized as it was by the prosecutions and executions 
for the imaginary crime of witchcraft. The prisons in the vicin- 
ity, — those of Boston, Cambridge, and Salem, — were crowded 
with supposed witches. " All the securities of society were dis- 
solved. Every man's life was at the mercy of every other man." 1 
None, however pure in life, however beloved in society, were safe 
from accusation. A member of one of the most respected families 
in town, — Mrs. Cary — was arrested. The narrative of her 
husband, Nathaniel Cary, this year at the head of the Board of 
Selectmen, and afterwards a representative, gives so interesting 
a view of her arraignment, her treatment in prison, and escape, 
and is so illustrative of the times, that it is inserted entire. 

" I having heard some days, that my wife was accused of witchcraft, 
being much disturbed at it, by advice we went to Salem- Village, to see 
if the afflicted did know her ; we arrived there 24th May, it happened to be 
a day appointed for examination ; accordingly soon after our arrival, Mr. 
Hathorn and Mr. Curwin, &c. went to the Meeting-house, which was the 
place appointed for that work, the minister began with prayer, and hav- 

1 Upham's Lectures, p, 26. 


ing taken care to get a convenient place, I observed, that the afflicted were 
two girls of about ten years old, and about two or three other, of about 
eighteen, one of the girls talked most, and could discern more than the 
rest. The prisoners were called in one by one, and as they came in were 
cried out of, &c. The prisoner was placed about seven or eight feet from 
the justices, and the accusers between the justices and them ; the prisoner 
was ordered to stand right before the justices, with an officer appointed to 
hold each hand, lest they should therewith afflict them, and the prisoner's 
eyes must be constantly on the justices ; for if they looked on the afflicted, 
they would either fall into their fits, or cry out of being hurt by them 1 ? 
after examination of the prisoners, who it was afflicted these girls, &c. 
they were put upon saying the Lord's Prayer, as a trial of their guilt ; 
after the afflicted seemed to be out of their fits, they would look steadfastly 
on some one person, and frequently not speak ; and then the justices said 
they were struck dumb, and after a little time would speak again ; then 
the justices said to the accusers, which of you will go and touch the 
prisoner at the bar? Then the most courageous would adventure, but 
before they had made three steps would ordinarily fall down as in a fit ; 
the justices ordered that they should be taken up and carried to the pris- 
oner, that she might touch them ; and as soon as they were touched by the 
accused, the justices would say, they are well, before I could discern any 
alteration ; by which I observed that the justices understood the manner 
of it. Thus far I was only as a spectator, my wife also was there part 
of the time, but no notice taken of her by the afflicted, except once or 
twice they came to her and asked her name. 

" But 1 having an opportunity to discourse Mr. Hale (with whom I had 
formerly acquaintance) 1 took his advice, what I had best to do, and desired 
of him that T might have an opportunity to speak with her that accused my 
wife ; which he promised should be, I acquainting him that I reposed my 
trust in him. 

" Accordingly he came to me after the examination was over, and told 
me T had now an opportunity to speak with the said accuser, viz. : Abigail 
Williams, a girl of eleven or twelve years old ; but that we could not be 
in private at Mr. Parris's house, as he had promised me ; we .went there- 
fore into the alehouse, where an Indian man attended us, who it seems 
was one of the afflicted ; to him we gave some cider, he shewed several 
scars, that seemed as if they had been long there, and shewed them as 
done by witchcraft, and acquainted us that his wife, who also was a slave, 
was imprisoned for witchcraft. And now instead of one accuser, they 
all came in, who began to tumble down like swine, and then three women 
were called in to attend them. We in the room were all at a stand, to see 
who they would cry out of; but in a short time they cried out, Cary ; and 
immediately after a warrant was sent from the justices to bring my wife 
before them, who were sitting in a chamber near by, waiting for this. 

" Being brought before the justices, her chief accusers were two girls ; 
my wife declared to the justices, that she never had any knowledge of 
them before that day ; she was forced to stand with her arms stretched out. 
I did request that I might hold one of her hands, but it was denied me ; 
then she desired me to wipe the tears from her eyes, and the sweat from 
her face, which T did ; then she desired she might lean herself on me, 
saying she should faint. 

"Justice Hathorn replied, she had strength enough to torment those 
persons, and she should have strength enough to stand. I speaking 
something against their cruel proceedings, they commanded me to be silent, 
or else I should be turned out of the room. The Indian before mentioned, 


was also brought in, to be one of her accusers ; being- come in, he now 
(when before the justices) fell down and tumbled about like a hog, but said 
nothing. The justices asked the girls, who afflicted the Indian 1 They 
answered she (meaning my wife) and now lay upon him ; the Justices 
ordered her to touch him, in order to his cure, but her head must be turned 
another way, lest instead of curing, she should make him worse, by her 
looking on him, her hand being guided to take hold of his ; but the Indian 
took hold of her hand, and pulled her down on the floor, in a barbarous 
manner ; then his hand was taken off, and her hand put on his, and the 
cure was quickly wrought. I being extremely troubled at their inhuman 
dealings, uttered a hasty speech [That God would take vengeance on them, 
and desired that God would deliver us out of the hands-of unmerciful men.] 
Then her Mittimus was writ, I did with difficulty and charge obtain the 
liberty of a room, but no beds in it ; if there had, could have taken but 
little rest that night, she was committed to Boston prison ; but I obtained 
a Habeas Corpus to remove her to Cambridge prison, which is in our 
county of Middlesex. Having been there one night, next morning the 
jailor put irons on her legs (having received such a command) the weight 
of them was about eight pounds ; these irons and her ether afflictions,, 
soon brought her into convulsion fits, so that I thought she would have 
died that night. I sent to intreat that the irons might be taken off, but all 
intreaties were in vain, if it would have saved her life, so that in this con- 
dition she must continue. The trials at Salem coming on, I went thither,. 
to see how things were there managed ; and finding that the Spectre- 
evidence was there received, together with idle, if not malicious stories, 
against people's lives, I did easily perceive which way the rest would go ;. 
for the same evidence that served for one, would serve for all the rest, I 
acquainted her with her danger ; and that if she were carried to Salem to 
be tried, I feared she would never return. I did my utmost that she might 
have her trial in our own county, I with several others petitioning the 
Judge for it, and were put in hopes of it; but I soon saw so much, that 
I understood thereby it was not intended, which put me upon consulting 
the means of her escape ; which through the goodness of God was effected, 
and she got to Rhode Island, but soon found herself not safe when there,, 
by reason of the pursuit after her ; from thence she went to New York, 
along with some others that had escaped their cruel hands ; where we 
found his excellency Benjamin Fletcher, Esq., governor, who was very 
courteous to us. After this, some of my goods were seized in a friend's 
hands, with whom I had left them, and myself imprisoned by the sheriff,' 
and kept in custody half a day, and then dismissed ; but to speak of their 
usage of the prisoners, and their inhumanity shown to them, at the time of 
their execution, no sober Christian could bear ; they had also trials of cruel 
mockings ; which is the more, considering what a people for religion,. 
I mean the profession of it, we have been ; those that suffered being many 
of them church members, and most of them unspotted in their conversation, 
till their adversary, the Devil, took up this method for accusing them. 

Nathaniel Cary." 
1693. The Witchcraft spell was not broken until this year. 
One of the remarkable trials took place in this town, January 31, 
at the session of the Superior Court. The reputed witch, Sarah 
Daston, was seventy or eighty years old ; and the rumor spread 
that " If there were a witch in the world, she was one," for she 
had been " so accounted of" for many years. A large number 


thronged to hear the trial. A multitude of witnesses testified 
against her, who detailed the accidents or illnesses, that, during 
twenty years, had happened to them after quarrels with her. The 
Spectre-Evidence was not used, and the Jury, to their credit, 
brought in a verdict of "Not Guilty," although it was affirmed 
that there was more evidence against her than served to convict at 
Salem. Judge Danforth, however, admonished her in the words, 
" Woman, woman, repent ; there are shrewd things come in 
against you." She was remanded to prison for her fees, where, 
in a short time, she expired. 

There is no allusion to Witchcraft on the town records ; but 
Rev. Charles Morton counselled and acted with those who urged 
the prosecutions. This remark, however, is not designed as a 
reflection upon this eminent character. His belief in it was in 
common with that of many of the distinguished men of his time, 
both in this country and in England. In the latter, it was so prev- 
alent, that some of the towns even paid the infamous witch- 
discoverers for their services in proving persons to be witches ; x 
and more persons were put to death there in a single county, and 
in a short space of time, than suffered in all New England. 2 

1694. " The favorite coin of our ancestors, Felt writes, the 
Pine Tree money, was still so plenty, that .£675 of it had been 
recently ordered for remission to Sir Henry Ashurst in London." 3 

1695. The Indians, at the instigation of the French, renewed 
their wars ; and this year two persons living in Haverhill were 
wounded by them, and an attack was made on Billerica on the 
5th of' August. The surprise of the latter was accompanied with 
the common acts of Indian warfare ; in one family, that of John 
Leviston, his mother-in-law and five young children were killed, 
and his oldest daughter carried into captivity. Fifteen persons 
were either killed or taken. While this part of Middlesex county 
was in a state of alarm, Col. Lynde of this town received a com- 
mission to pursue the Indians ; but so effectually had they concealed 
their flight, even tying up the mouths of their dogs with wampum 
to prevent their barking, that all efforts to find them proved 
unavailing. 4 Col. Lynde presented the following official account 
of his expedition : — 

1 See page 117 of this work. 2 Hutchinson, Vol. II. p. 42. 

3 Felt's Mass. Currency, p. 54. 4 Farmer's Hillerica. 


" Aug. 23, 1695. Receiving commission from the Honorable William 
Stoughton, Lieutenant Governor, Commander-in-chief, over all the province 
of Massachusetts, with instructions for his Majesty's service in the county 
of Middlesex : pursuant whereunto, I went that night to Billerica, where 
I found about three hundred men in arms from Woburn, Reading, Maiden, 
Medford, Charlestown, Cambridge, Watertown, under conduct of Major 
William Johnson ; Major Jeremiah Swaine ; Major Wade ; Capt. William 
Greene ; Capt. John Greene ; Lt. Remington ; Lt. Haman ; Capt. Gerfleld ; 
Sergeant Bond and Mr. Sherman. 

" That night we marched to the river of Merrimack, guarded the fords 
there, being three between Andover and Chelmsford, with about forty men 
at each ford, and with about one hundred men encamped that night at 
Prospect Hill, that lies between Chelmsford and the river, on the northern 
side of the great swamp ; leaving the remaining forces to guard the town. 
As soon as it was light, on the 24th of August instant, we sent men to the 
top of the said hill, where we had a view of the said swamp, and the 
country far about, but could discover no fire anywhere. Thence we pro- 
ceeded to range the woods between Andover and Chelmsford, but finding 
no sign of our enemies, we rendezvous at a place called Sandy Pond, about 
eight miles from Billerica eastward ; from whence about eleven of the clock 
that day we went to the great swamp, dismounted half our men, the other 
half taking their horses. We caused the men on foot to pass through the 
swamp in a rank, each man at distance as much as was convenient, appointed 
to rendezvous again at Prospect Hill. Major Johnson with about forty men 
compassing the swamp on the west side, and myself with the rest of the 
soldiers on the east side. Our men on foot, with much difficulty having 
got through the swamp, gave us account that they saw a new track and 
smelt Indians in one place, but did not judge by their track there were 
above two, having again rendezvous about four o'clock, afternoon, near 
Prospect Hill, having before noon ranged the woods belonging partly to 
Andover and Chelmsford to the eastward of Prospect Hill, we proceeded 
to range the woods towards Chelmsford ; rendezvousing again near the 
time of sun-setting at the chief-fording place on the Merrimack below Hunt's 
garrison ; where I advised with all our officers. Having no prospect of 
doing service against the enemy ; considering the evil that had accrued by 
drawing off all forces at once, I left a guard of ten men to guard that ford, 
under the direction of Hunt and Foster of Billerica, until the 29th day of 
August, instant, at night, and then to be dismissed without further order. 
Marching then up to Billerica town in diverse parties, we rendezvous at 
the Ordinary, where, paying off the army with thankful acknowledg- 
ments for their ready and willing services, — at their request, I dismissed 
them according to their desires, to make the best of their way home, which 
without doubt they attended ; though with difficulty, by reason of the 
darkness of the night. So concluding, 

I am, sir, your servant, 

Joseph Lynde, Lt. Col." 

" Dated at Charlestown, Aug. 25, 1695." 

"P. S. We have left about five hundred of bread in the hands of Capt. 
Danforth, who was not so prudent in the disposal of some of what was 
spent, as in my way home I was informed, as he should have been. 
I directed him at my coming away to preserve what was left until further 
order. Yours as above, J. L." 1 

i Mass. Archives, Vol. LI, p. 41. 


1696. The guns taken from the Battery in 1687, were, on the 
petition of the selectmen, in March, 1690, ordered to be restored; 
and the Court abated the town its proportion of two single coun- 
try rates to compensate it for the damage done to the Battery, and 
towards repairing it. But all the guns were not replaced until 
this year (1696); when efficient measures were taken to rebuild 
this ancient fortification. An order of Lieutenant Governor 
Stoughton authorized Colonels Phillips and Lynde " to cause the 
inhabitants to work by turns" on it. Three sakers that had been 
carried away and were mounted in Boston, and another piece of 
ordnance taken at Port Royal, were ordered to be delivered to 
the chief military officers of this town. 

The town-house was repaired this year. New sills were put 
under it; new posts put in the turret; a new belfrey made; and 
the platform repaired. Samuel Griffin was the carpenter, who was 
to have for his " work and stuff done and completed workmanlike, 
five pounds and ten shillings, besides 15d. per foot for the sill in 
the garret." 

1697. At a town-meeting, March 1st, it was voted " that the 
publishing of banns of matrimony should be on Lecture-days, or 
any other public times, and not restrained to Sabbath-days only." 
A great chair and a new school bell were purchased for the 

1698. Judge Sewall, in his Diary, has the following chronicle 
of the state of the ice in Charles river, in February of this year. 
"February 19, I go over the ice and visit Mr. Morton, who 
keeps his bed. 21st I rode over to Charlestown on the ice, then 
over to Stower's (Chelsea), so to Mr. Wigglesworth. The snow 
was so deep that I had a hard journey, — could go but a foot pace 
on Mystic river, the snow was so deep. 26th. A considerable 
quantity of ice went away last night, so that now there is a glade 
of water along by Governor's island, about as far as Bird island. 
28th. A guard is set upon Charles river to prevent persons from 
venturing over on the ice for fear of drowning ; and the ferrymen 
are put upon cutting and clearing the ice, which they do so hap- 
pily, that I think the boat passeth once a day." 

1699. The warrants for town-meetings at this period did not 
always specify the subjects to be acted upon as definitely as they 


do at the present time. One issued this year, May 5, was expressed 
as follows : "then ordered the town clerk to sign the warrant to 
warn the freeholders to meet the 22nd inst., May, to choose rep- 
resentatives, and several other concerns of the town." " The 
Worshipful James Russell, Esquire," was often chosen Moderator. 

1700. At the Annual town-meeting, March 4, Voted, " That 
all the waste land belonging to the town on the north side of Mys- 
tic river should be divided, and laid out equally to every person 
an equal share that hath been an inhabitant of this town six years, 
and is twenty-one years old, and the like share to all widows, house- 
holders, that have been six years inhabitants." 

The selectmen, November, 12th, granted Capt. Nathaniel By- 
field, Esq., Capt. Andrew Belcher, and company, liberty " to set 
up such a furnace or kiddle for melting tallow, in order to making 
candles in the house on the wharf late the possession of Lieut. 
Randolph Nichols." 

On the 17th of January, Sewall writes; " A great fire broke 
out at Charlestown, last night, though very rainy. Three houses 
burnt ; viz. : the Widow Cutler's and two more. 

1701. At the annual meeting in March, it was voted, "That 
if there should be a county school settled by the General Court, 
that this town would raise forty pounds in order to providing for it, 
if it be settled in this town." 

1702. The town raised this year for the poor £ 20 ; for re- 
pairing the meeting-house and school-house £ 20 ; for high-ways 
<£20; for bell-man £ 11 ; for town treasurer £4; for town clerk 
c£2; for selectmen's expenses £o and enough to make the school- 
master's salary £ 40. 

1703. The battery was again repaired, and money was paid, for 
aprons for the great guns, for plank for the platform, spikes, &c. 
It was customary for the selectmen to post "the middle price of 
wheat:" in 1696 it was posted at eight shillings a bushel — this 
year (1703) it was four shillings and six-pence. 

1704. A report was accepted, Dec. 25, in relation to the 
town's rights to the Land of Nod, and an action commenced 
against trespassers. See page 111. 

The following vote shows the care the town took to obtain quali- 
fied teachers. The selectmen appointed, Dec. 29th, Samuel Hey- 


man, Esq., Capt. Samuel Phipps, and Mr. Joseph Whittemore to 
be a committee, in the name of the selectmen, to inquire of Mr. 
Brattle and the fellows of the college, concerning Mr. Wissell, 
whether he was a fit man to be a schoolmaster for the town, — 
information from some persons having been given " of his worth 
and qualifications for said service." The report was favorable ; 
and Mr. Peleg Wissell was engaged to " teach children to write, 
cypher, and perfect them in reading English, and to teach them 
and instruct them in grammar learning." 

This year there was in this community one of those public ex- 
hibitions that were common to the times, but which a higher 
civilization regards with horror. On the 13th of June seven 
persons were condemned to the penalty of death in Boston for rob- 
bery and murder committed on the high seas. Up to the hour of 
the execution, the ministers were indefatigable in their offices to 
the wretched men. They preached and prayed with them every 
day ; and, in addition, catechised them, and gave them " many 
occasional exhortations." On the day of execution, June 30th, 
"pursuant to the death-warrant," the Provost Marshal and his offi- 
cers, the constables, and " forty musketeers " guarded the crimi- 
nals as they walked from the prison to Scarlet's wharf, — the sil- 
ver ore they had stolen being carried before them. They " were 
crowded and thronged on all sides with multitudes of spectators." 
They went, from Scarlet's wharf, by water, to the gallows, which 
had been erected in Charles river, on Boston side. It is not ne- 
cessary to detail the prayers of the ministers or the dying speeches 
of the pirates. One was reprieved on the gallows, but six suf- 
fered the dreadful penalty of the law. 1 

1705. The selectmen, March 12, agreed " with David Ray to 
be bellman, to go about the town with his bell every night from 
eleven o'clock until five in the morning, to keep watch for alarums 
and fires, and give timely notice thereof; and for his faithful per- 
formance of said work, it is agreed he shall receive sixteen pounds 
out of the town treasury, if he continue in said service, and 
faithfully perform it one whole year from the twenty-seventh day 
of November, last past, which he hath promised and agreed to do, 

1 Hand-bill issued at the time : the gallows was probably erected, and 
the pirates buried at low water mark. 


except a military watch should be commanded." The town bell 
was rung daily, from March, at five o'clock in the morning and 
eight in the evening ; and on Sabbath-days, &c. for meetings. 

1706. At the annual meeting, the town voted to prosecute 
the town of Maiden for its neglect in not assisting to repair the 
Battery. In 1708 other repairs were made, and Maiden then 
agreed to pay of the whole expense, (thirty pounds) nine pounds 
in sleepers for the platform. 

1707. Joseph Whittemore, in a petition, stated that "the 
country road leading to Cambridge is very narrow and crooked" 
opposite land shortly to be his, and offered to straighten it by 
giving in land and taking " a small dark corner of land " belonging 
to the town. The request was granted. 

1708. At a town meeting it was voted to grant Edward Sheath 
permission to set some posts in the Training Field, " to make ropes 
on, provided it be not offensive to the neighborhood." The select- 
men agreed this year with Mr. Ivory " to mend the pulpit and fix 
it to Mr. Bradstreet's satisfaction." 

1709. At this period it was customary for the town, through 
the selectmen, to grant permission to influential citizens to build 
pews in the meeting-house. This year Capt. William Rowse, 
who had purchased of one of the heirs, an interest in the late 
Capt. Thomas Russell's pew, complained that he "was something 
disturbed by others taking up part of the same pew." The select- 
men confirmed the pew to Capt. Rowse, on condition that he 
allowed the children of Mr. Russell to occupy it. 

1710. The selectmen approbated for inn-holders, Ruth Wyer, 
Mrs. Trumble, Mrs. Mabel Jenner, Mrs. Ruth Waite, William 
Patten, and Benjamin Frothingham ; and for retailers out of doors, 
Edward Emerson, Mrs. Sarah Newell, Elizabeth Newell, Mrs. 
Mehitable Cutler, Nicholas Lawrence, Thomas Harris, Seth 
Sweetser, and Calvin Galpine. 

1711. The following record of May 11, shows the town 

expenses for this year : — 

"Voted, The several sums hereafter mentioned, to be raised by way of vote 
on the Polls and Estates in Charlestown, to defray the necessary charges 
of the town for the year ensuing, viz. : — 

For the Schoolmaster's Salary, £40 

For the Minister's House Rent, ; 10 

For Town Clerk's and Town Treasurer's Salary, . . 7 


For the Bellman ringing the Bell, and sweeping the Meeting 

House, &c. .£10 

For Relief of the Poor, . . . . . . 35 

For Repairing the Meeting House, Town House, and School House, 10 
For Selectmen's expense, . . . . . . .700 

For Payment of last year's Representative, . . . . 7 10 

For Repairing Highways, 20 

For Hiring Bulls, &c., 10 

For a Bellman for the night, and more if the Selectmen see 

necessity of it, 16 

£172 10 
Nothing appears on Record relative to the salary of the 

minister ; but there is, in a previous year, an allusion to contribu- 
tions for this object ; and in 1721, forty pounds were raised " for 
minister's arrears." 

1712. It is an indication of the enterprise of the time that it 
was proposed to build a bridge over Charles river, at the Old 
Ferry. The General Court Records, under the date of March 20, 
contain the following record : — 

" The Council declare they are ready to promote the attainment of so 
beneficial a work as the bridge projected, and judge the best method to 
bring it to pass, is for private gentlemen to undertake and carry on the 
same ; and for their encouragement, that a toll be forthwith granted and 
set by the act of the General Assembly ; — such as shall be judged reason- 
able, to be paid for man, horses, and other beasts, carts, carriages and 
coaches ; leaving to the College their interest and revenue of the Ferry 
there, to be duly paid from time to time, with the advance of forty shil- 
lings per annum thereto, for the term of fifteen years next after the erecting 
of said bridge, without any advance or increase after the end of the first 
fifteen years; and that in case the projection be attempted and fail, the 
river and harbor be put in good condition as at present." 

The town voted in May, five pounds to place "poor children 
at such woman's schools as shall be allowed of by the selectmen; " 
" such children whose parents are not able to bring them to school." 
The teacher having requested that regulations might be made 
about the town school, it was voted, " That whereas the school 
being thronged with so many small reading children that are not 
able to spell or read as they ought to do, by reason of which Latin 
scholars, writers and cypherers cannot be duly attended and instruct- 
ed as they ought to be," Capt. Samuel Phipps and Mr. Jonathan 
Dowse were chosen " inspectors and regulators of that matter." 

1713. The town voted, at the annual meeting, "that they 
would have a town clock to be kept in the town house, and to 
be procured at the charge of the town ; " and a committee was 
raised to buy it. 


This year several citizens made contributions towards building 
a new school-house, one offering a bell, others lime, bricks, paint, 
and stone, and one " a raising dinner ; " and the town, in May, 
voted fifty pounds for this purpose. But a controversy arose about 
its location. The committee chosen to build it, selected the epot 
" where the cage stood," a site north of the meeting-house. But 
this invasion of the old place of punishment was warmly opposed. 
A town-meeting was called, July 14, to act upon the matter, when 
it was voted " to null all the votes concerning the building of the 
new school-house." To this, twenty-six citizens recorded their 
dissent, and to the whole action of the meeting. A new meeting 
was called August 17; when it was voted to build on the Hill, 
near the old house. The first committee then declined ; and the 
selectmen built one " thirty feet long, twenty feet wide, twelve 
feet stud, one floor of sleepers, and one floor of joist aloft." The 
bills were approved February 14, 1714, — the cost was <£104. 4. 11. 
The undertaking was evidently a considerable one for the day. 
The salary of the grammar master, at this period, was fifty 
pounds, and four pounds were voted " to pay for teaching children 
to write among our inhabitants near Reading." 

1714. The following Post Office advertisement appeared May 
31, in the Boston News Letter : — 

" These are to give notice to all persons concerned, that the Post Office 
in Boston is opened every Monday morning from the middle of March to 
the middle of September, at seven of the clock, to deliver out all letters that 
do come by the post til] twelve o'clock. From twelve to two o'clock being 
dinner time, no office kept. And from two o'clock in the afternoon to 
six o'clock, the office will be open to take in all letters to go by the south- 
ern and western post, and none to be taken in after that hour, excepting 
for the eastern post, till seven at night." 

1715. At the annual March meeting, the town voted " that 
the selectmen should draw up something to prevent forestalling 
and engrossing provision before it is brought into the town, and 
present the same to his Majesty's justices of the quarter sessions 
for Middlesex, — desiring their confirmation thereof, and establish- 
ing it as a by-law for the town." 

William Cutlove was admitted an inhabitant " and had liberty 
to set up a still-house without the Neck." 

1716. The town voted (by paper votes) June 21, 1715, to 
build a new meeting-house, and that " it should stand as near the 
old one as can be, or where the old one stands, with such additions 


of land as shall be needful for it." A committee of eleven were 
chosen to build it, viz. : Col. John Phillips, Capt. Joseph Lynde, 
Capt. Nathaniel Carey, Capt. Samuel Phipps, Capt. Charles Cham- 
bers, Capt. Jonathan Dowse, Capt. Michael Gill, Doct. Thomas 
Graves, Capt. Samuel Frothingham, Mr. Daniel Russell, and Mr 
Nathaniel Frothingham. This committee were instructed to col- 
lect what they could " by voluntary subscriptions," in aid of this 
work. The house was raised June 20, and used for public wor- 
ship August 5. The committee reported, May 20, 1717, that the 
house was finished ; the cost, £ 1899. 3. 10, and that the contri- 
butions amounted to £ 1925. 3. 0. It was seventy-two feet long, 
fifty-two feet wide, and had two galleries. 1 

The Boston News Letter of August 27, 1716, contains the fol- 
lowing advertisement, — 

" This is to give notice, that at the house of Mr. George Browne]], late 
schoolmaster in Hanover street, Boston, are all sorts of millinery works 
done ; making up dresses, and flowering of muslin, making of furbelow'd 
scarfs, and quilting, and cutting of gentlewomen's hair in the newest 
fashion ; and also young gentlewomen and children taught all sorts of fine 
works, as feather-work, filigree and painting on glass, embroidering in a 
new way, Turkey work for handkerchiefs two ways, fine new fashion 
purses, flourishing and plain work, and dancing cheaper than ever was 
taught in Boston, brocaded work for handkerchiefs, and short aprons upon 
muslin, artificial flowers worked with a needle." 

1717. The town voted this year to " make the Causeway at the 
Neck," and that the committee should " have liberty to dig gravel 
for said work any where in the town's land, provided they damnify no 
man in his property, nor the king's, or town's ways." Sixty pounds 
were' voted in May and sixty pounds in September for this purpose. 

Much controversy occurred at this period as to which town 
should be the shire-town of the county, Charlestown or Cambridge. 
Judge Sewall writes, June 12, that there was a hearing before the 
Council. " Mr. Auchmuty pleaded very well for Charlestown. 
His first discourse was very well worth hearing. Mr. Remington 
alleged and proved for Cambridge very pertinately and fully." 
On the 13th the Council decided in favor of Cambridge. The 
next day there was a spirited contest in the House of Deputies on 

1 Judge Sewall writes, under date of June 20, 1716, " I went over to 
Charlestown in the morning, and drove a pin in Charlestown meeting- 
house, in the corner post next Mr. Bradstreet's. Gave an Angel (a gold 
coin). I sat in the nearest shop and saw them raise the third post 
towards the Ferry, from the corner post. Gave me a cool tankard." 


the question of concurring with the Council. Sewall writes : 
" Could not tell by lifting up the hands, — were fain to divide the 
House. They for Cambridge went to the north side, — they for 
Charlestown to the south. Cambridge had forty-six — Charles- 
town forty-one." 

1718. On the decease of a pauper, the following vote was pass- 
ed by the selectmen : " Ordered Nathaniel Dowse, Treasurer, to 
provide for Joseph Fenton's funeral, a coffin, a grave, eight pairs 
of gloves, six gallons of good wine, and to get a pall, and bells 
ringed for his interring by five of the clock the next day." 

The sum of three pounds was voted for a school on Mystic side ; 
eight pounds for one in the precinct near Reading, and sixty 
pounds for the grammar schoolmaster. 

1719. At the annual March meeting, a rrjotion was made by 
Col. Gill " for having the Lecture at Charlestown to begin an hour 
sooner than heretofore : i. e. at eleven o'clock," which was passed, 
and the Hon. Jonathan Dowse, Esq., and Col. Michael Gill were 
appointed " to treat with the ministers, and to signify to them the 
town's consent " to have the Lecture begin at this hour. 

1720. The project of building a bridge was renewed this year, 
and the town voted to instruct its representatives " to promote the 
building of a bridge over Charles river at the place where the 
Ferry is now kept, viz. : from between Mr. Gees and Hudson's 
Point to the landing place on this side, where the ferry boats gen- 
erally land their passengers, and at no other place." 

1721. At a town-meeting, August 14, after hearing the petition 
of " sundry inhabitants on the north side of Mystic river, who 
desired to be set off from this town to Maiden," it was unanimous- 
ly voted that the request " should not be granted." The petition- 
ers applied, in 1723, to the General Court, and the town, May 8, 
appointed a committee " to answer to the petition." 

At a meeting, Sept. 27, it was voted that the town should take 
out its proportion of the last .£50.000, loan, being £1135, and 
Henry Phillips, Ebenezer Austin, and John Fowle were appointed 
trustees to receive it. Of this money, £ 135 were appropriated 
to build a house and barn at Lynn, on the town's farm; £100 
to supply the necessities of such as should have the small-pox ; 
£ 900 to loan to citizens at five per cent, interest, — no person 
to have more than £ 30, — no one less than £ 10. 


The town this year suffered from the ravages of the small-pox, 
and the selectmen, Dec. 25, directed the sexton not " on any ac- 
count whatsoever, without order from them, to toll above three 
bells in one day for the burial of any persons. It being represent- 
ed to them a discouragement to those persons sick of the small- 
pox. Among those who died of it were Rev. Joseph Stevens, one 
of the ministers of the town, and nearly all his family. 

1722. The selectmen paid for a pauper who died of the small- 
pox, besides watching and attendance, £ 4. 12. 0; for gloves at 
the funeral, 28s. ; for one gallon green wine, 6s. 6d., and one gal- 
lon of sweet wine, 6s. 6d. 

At the annual March meeting the following vote was passed : — 

" Voted, that no inhabitant of this town do presume to receive or enter- 
tain in their houses, any person or persons whatsoever in order to receive 
the small-pox by inoculation, or otherwise, on pain or penalty of twenty 
shillings, the one half for the use of the poor of said town, and the other 
half to him or them that shall inform and prosecute the same. And like- 
wise the same penalty of twenty shillings to be paid by any person or 
persons intruding themselves into said town, and found under the operation 
as aforesaid, to be recovered and disposed of as aforesaid." 

1723. The selectmen, Feb. 8, " gave out a warrant to the con- 
stables of this town to warn a free negro, called Robin, at Daniel 
Greene's, to depart out of town." 

1724. The town voted to raise thirty pounds to " buy an en- 
gine," — the first one it owned ; to buy a bell for the school-house, 1 
and build a belfry; to appropriate two acres of its farm " at the 
Wood-end," for " a training-field and burying-place; " to pull 
down the old watch-house ; to choose a committee to act with the 
county committee to locate the new prison on the Town-house Hill. 

This year the first insurance office established in America was 
opened in Boston by Joseph Marion, notary public. In 1748 this 
person advertised that it " was still held and kept by him at his 
office, where money upon the bottoms of ships and vessels may be 
obtained for a reasonable premium ; which affair of merchandise, 
as well as other clerkship, the trading part and others, may be by 
him furnished with fidelity and despatch." 2 

1725. The amount raised to defray the expenses of the town 
this year was .£334. The schoolmaster's salary, the largest item, 
was <£80; the relief of the poor and the highways, £70 each. 

1 The next year Mr. Daniel Russell presented the free school with a 
new bell. 2 Boston Weekly News, Nov. 3, 1748. 


Captain Benjamin Geary and fifty-three others petitioned that 
they might be set off for a township, (afterwards Stoneham) ; and 
William Paine and seventeen others, that they might be set off to 
Maiden. The town voted not to grant either petition. An agree- 
ment, however, was made with the Stoneham petitioners, and the 
General Court, December 1, 1725, passed the following act: 

" In the House of Representatives : Whereas, the town of Charles- 
town, within the county of Middlesex, is of great extent and length, and 
lies commodiously for two townships, and the northerly part thereof 
being competently filled with inhabitants who labor under great difficulties 
by their remoteness from the place of public worship ; and the said north- 
erly part have thereupon made their application to the said town, and have 
likewise addressed this Court, that thay may be set off a distinct and sep- 
arate town, and the inhabitants of Charlestown, by their agents, having 
consented to their being set off accordingly, and a committee of this Court 
having viewed the northerly part of the said town of Charlestown, and 
reported in favor of the Petitioners : 

" Resolved, That the northerly part of the town of Charlestown be 
erected into a separate and distinct township, by the name of ... . 
And that the bounds and limits of the said town of .... be accord- 
ing to the agreement made by and between the agents, for and in behalf 
of the said town of Charlestown and the petitioners of the northerly part 
thereof, and that all the lands and meadows within the said town of 
. . . . shall be and remain to such uses and appropriations as are in 
the said agreement made and no other, and that the petitioners have leave 
to bring in a bill for erecting the lands within the bounds aforementioned 
into a separate and distinct township by the name of . . . . accord- 

1726. The town leased Joseph Frost the southerly side of 
Penny Ferry for twenty-five years, at five shillings a year, and the 
northerly side to Samuel Sweetser for the same sum; both agree- 
ing to maintain good ways to low water mark, and to keep good 
boats to accommodate the travel over the ferry. 

The project was suggested this year of building a bridge over 
this ferry (where Maiden bridge is), but the town voted in the 
negative in relation to it. 

The inhabitants of Medford petitioned the town that the lands 
on the north side of Medford river might be added to their town, 
which was dismissed. The town also raised a committee to 
oppose a petition presented to the General Court, praying that a 
portion of territory might be set off to Maiden ; and another to 
answer the petition of Medford. The Maiden petitioners were 
successful ; and the General Court, June 7, 1726, passed the fol- 
lowing act : 

" On the petition of Joses Bucknam, Jacob Wilson, and Jonathan Bar- 


ret on behalf of the town of Maiden, and that part of the town of Charles- 
town on the north side of Mystic river, praying as entered Dec. 23, 1725. 
In Council read again, together with the answer of the town of Charles- 
town, and the same being duly considered, ordered, that the inhabitants 
of Charlestown within the limits described in this petition, with their 
estates, and the lands belonging to the inhabitants of Maiden within the 
same limits, be set ofT from the said town of Charlestown and joined to 
the town of Maiden to all intents and purposes whatsoever ; provided that 
the ferry called Penny Ferry, with the profits thereof, remain to the said 
town of Charlestown, and that the way on the north side lately purchased 
by Charlestown lay open for the use of the said ferry." 

The taxes of the town this year were : — 

"Town Rate, ...... £431 9 8 

County Rate, 18 18 1 

Province Tax, 340 4 10 

Total, £790 12 7." 

1727. The town voted fifty pounds to pave Fish-street, com- 
mencing at the little bridge by the ferry, and to extend until the 
sum be expended. 

This year there were in the town four hundred and twelve rata- 
ble polls, and thirty-five not ratable; of these fifty-two were at sea. 

A record was made of the income of the town. This was 
classed as "The towns, the free school, and the poor." The 
town's income was : rents of four farms, £ 77 ; five lots of land, 
£ 2. 7. 6 ; White Island, £ 0. 10. ; horse pasture, £ 0. 15. ; Pen- 
ny Ferry, .£10.0; money at interest, (£ 246), £14.15.2; and 
three lots of land of which the rent is not stated. The poor's 
income was : rent of Lynn farm, £9; house bequeathed by Capt. 
Sprague, £18; money at interest, (£218.10), £13.2.2; the 
free school's income was: rent of Lovell's island, £ 17: School 
lot, £5; School Marsh, £ 1. 10. ; money at interest, (£357. 10), 
£ 21. 9 ; and Souhegan farm and two lots, the rent of which is not 

1728. In May it was voted to build an almshouse, — the first 
one erected in the town. It was located in the square, " fourteen 
feet from the county house, lately built," and was fifty feet long, 
thirteen feet wide, and thirteen feet stud, with eight fire rooms. 
It cost £251, of which £ 108. 4. 6 were raised by contributions. 

The town voted " That no hucksters, or other person whatsoever 
shall, within the town of Charlestown, buy, contract or bargain 
for any sort of grain, meal, butter, fowl, mutton, veal, pork, 
eggs, or any other sort of provision, while it is bringing between 


Cambridge, Medford, and deacon Jonathan Carey's, except per- 
sons that live between said places, for their own family's use, 
before two of the clock in the afternoon " on penalty of 20s. for 
each offence. 

1729. The town voted that it would not " keep the bellman to 
go in the night the year ensuing." In the newspapers the article 
of " fresh New York flour" is advertised ; tea, coffee, and choco- 
late were common in the stores. 

1730. An appropriation, for several years, continued to be 
made for paving. The only two streets that were partly paved at 
this time, were Main-street and Joiner's-street. This year £ 60 
were raised for this purpose. 

Governor Belcher appointed commissioners to examine the 
forts and batteries; who reported, December 21, that on the 
12th they " went to the battery in Charlestown and found the 
works there entirely laid waste, but are of opinion that the said 
battery be rebuilt in the same, or in some more convenient place." 
The inventory of the stores was as follows : 6 cannon, 3 eighteen 
pounders and 3 eight pounders ; 65 eighteen pound shot and 10 
chain shot; 4 sponges, 2 worms, 2 ladles, 4 rammers, 10 hand- 
spikes, 10 linch stocks ; an old shattered flag. 

On September 17, the General Court granted to Charlestown 
£ 100 it having " been sorely visited with the small-pox, which 
occasioned great distress " for " some months past." 

1731. A petition, signed by Capt. Joseph Whittemore and 
others, was presented to the town, praying " for a spot on the 
Common to set a meeting-house on." This project, however, was 

1732. At the annual town-meeting, in March, voted, "That 
Mr. Stephen Badger, Jr., be desired to read and set the psalms in 
the meeting-house in the time of public worship," and that "he 
be excused his poll-tax so long as he officiates in said work." 

1733. The town built " a ministerial house" for the accom- 
modation of Rev. Hull Abbott, fifty feet long, nineteen feet 
wide, and eighteen feet high, with a gamberell roof, with three 
stacks of chimneys, and a room ten feet square at the back side 
for a study. 

1734. The town, at the annual meeting, March 4, 1733, voted 
to be at one half the expense towards building a new court-house, 


the present one standing "in a very cold and uncomfortable 
place; " and appointed " Richard Foster, Jr., Esq., Capt. William 
Wyer, Capt. Ezekiel Cheever, Mr. Isaac Parker, and Capt. 
Samuel Frothingham," a committee to communicate this vote to 
the next Middlesex " court of general sessions of the peace." 
The latter agreed to pay one half the expense of building one in 
the Charlestown market-place, provided that the said half did not 
exceed ,£400, and that the town appropriated the land on which it 
was built to the county's use forever. The town raised, at the May 
meeting in 1734, £ 400 for this purpose. The committee appointed 
to do this work, reported July 14, 1735, that the whole expense 
amounted to £ 939. 17. 4 ; four hundred pounds of which had been 
paid by the county treasurer, and "twenty pounds by Daniel 
Russell as a gift." The court-house was fifty feet long. One 
hundred pounds were raised this year to pave the market-place. 

At a meeting of the selectmen, June 17, voted, " Whereas it hath 
been customary for years past to raise money by contributions to 
present to our reverend ministers withal, for their fire-wood ; 
Ordered, that the town Clerk be directed to desire the deacons to 
inform the congregation thereof, that so it may be upon the next 

1735. The town purchased a new fire-engine — the second 
one in town — and raised £1 17. 25. 9, to pay for it. Daniel Rus- 
sell and Thomas Jenner gave forty pounds, in addition, towards 
the purchase. 

1736. There was a controversy concerning the proceedings of 
the annual March meeting. Much time was spent in debate re- 
specting the construction of a recent law relating to the qualifica- 
tion of voters ; and before the moderator was chosen the select- 
men decided that " such who had a ratable estate amounting to 
the value of twenty pounds should be admitted to vote." Under 
this decision, the choice of officers was made. But this was not 
acquiesced in. The selectmen petitioned the General Court to 
confirm the proceedings of the annual meeting; while the dissatis- 
fied citizens, also, stated their objections. Both parties "were 
admitted into the House and fully heard." The decision of the 
General Court was, that the meeting was irregular, and that " the 
proceedings be deemed null and void." It ordered the selectmen 
for 1735, to call a new meeting. One was accordingly held March 


31, when the same selectmen, that were elected at the first meet- 
ing, were re-elected, and most of the other officers. 

The town voted to raise twenty-five pounds to establish a school 
without the Neck. It is the first notice of a school in this section 
of the town. 

On June 11, at a town-meeting, a petition was read of William 
Dickson and others, of the westerly part of the town, praying 
" that the town would dismiss them with their lands from any 
charge for the future to the support of the gospel ministry in this 
town." It was voted "that the said petition be dismissed, for that 
the ministers of Charlestown are supported by a free contribution, 
of which the said petitioners pay no part." 

The selectmen passed the following vote : — 

" Whereas, complaint being made that some ill-minded persons on the 
evenings of the 20th and 21st inst. last past, a great number of stones and 
brickbats was thrown into the windows and doors of the dwelling-house 
which the Rev. Mr. Hull Abbot lives in, which endangered their lives and 
limbs, and which much damnified the windows, all which being against the 
peace of our Sovereign Lord the King, and against the laws of this prov- 
ince, in that case made and provided. Then was a warrant directed to 
the constables of the town to keep a watch to the number of six men 
each and every night until further order." 

There was a great day of rejoicing on account of the marriage 
of the Prince of Wales with the Princes of Saxe-Gotha. The 
Boston Evening Post says of Charlestown : " The town-house was 
finely illuminated, as also the dwelling-houses of persons of the 
first rank." 

1737. At the March meeting it was "put to vote by yea and 
nay, whether Capt. Samuel Henly and Capt. James Flucker may 
have liberty to purchase a privilege in the meeting-house, on the 
back of the men's seats below, to build a pew for conveniency of 
their families." Yeas, 28 — nays, 25. 

1738. At the May meeting, a petition was presented from a 
number of citizens of this town, and of Medford, praying that sev- 
eral tracts of land might be added to Medford ; and one from 
Stoneham praying that " the five ranges and half of wood lots 
lying between Stoneham and Medford might be added to Stone- 
ham." Both petitions were refused by the town. 

In August, a robber was convicted of stealing from a dwelling- 
house in this town in the night; and on Friday, Sept. 16, after 
hearing " in the morning a sermon suitable to his circumstances, 


from Job, xxxi. 14," was executed in the afternoon at Cam- 

A project was entertained of establishing a ferry, or of building 
a bridge, from " the copper works" in the westerly part of Boston, 
to the farm of Hon. Spencer Phipps, in Cambridge. At a special 
meeting the town voted to oppose both of these plans, and to in- 
struct a committee if they saw fit, to petition the General Court for 
liberty to " receive subscriptions " to build a bridge " from Charles- 
town to Boston." 

1739. At the March meeting the town refused to grant " a 
piece of land upon the Common just without the Neck, suitable to 
set a meeting-house upon for a number of the inhabitants, who are 
desirous to have one there." The petition for this privilege is in 
the hand-writing of John Alford. 

1740. An elaborate Report, dated May 12, on the finances of 
the town was put on record. The town's income from land and 
money was £ 196. 19. 10. The free school's income was c£71.4. 
The poor's income was <£97 2.2. Total, £ 365. 6. There- 
port states that the annual charge for the support of the poor 
and the school was about ^800. A large number of citizens pe- 
titioned for a town-meeting to see whether the town taxes must 
be paid in land bank, or manufactory bills. 

The Boston Evening Post, of July 7, states that " Capt. Chee- 
ver of Charlestown had discovered the villains that broke open his 
sugar-house about a fortnight ago, and they prove to be three 
negro fellows of this town, (Boston) who have made a confession 
of the whole affair." A subsequent number of this newspaper 
gives the sequel of this case and of another : — 

" This morning about seven o'clock, John Hayes, a noted thief, re- 
ceived twenty stripes at the public whipping-post, for business done in 
the way of his profession, which were faithfully laid on. And much 
about the same time, the three negro fellows who broke open Capt. Chee- 
ver's and Mr. Gooch's sugar-houses, some time since, were tickled at the 
said post in a very easy and genteel manner, to the praise of the polite ex- 
ecutioner, and encouragement of other negroes to deserve the like honor." 

A Boston merchant advertised, as just imported, " A neat assort- 
ment of Broad cloths, German : Serges Long Ells ■ Duroys : Hair &, 
Worsted Plush Honey Combs : Shalloons : Tammeys Fustians : 
Striped Hollands : Florettas : Russels : Buttons & Mohair : & Shirt 


1741. Oldmixon, in his History, 1 furnishes the following de- 
scription of this town : — 

" Charlestown, the mother of Boston, is much more populous than 
Cambridge, "and exceeds it much in respect of trade, being situated be- 
tween two rivers, Mystic river and Charles river, and parted from Boston 
only by the latter, over which there is a ferry so well tended, that a bridge 
would not be much more convenient, except in winter, when the ice will 
neither bear nor surfer a boat to move through it. Though the river is 
much broader about, the town, it is not wider in the ferry passage than the 
Thames between London and Southwark. The profits of this ferry be- 
long to Harvard College in Cambridge, and are considerable. The town 
is so large as to take up all the space between the two rivers. ' Tis 
beautified, with a handsome large church, a market-place by the river side, 
and two long streets leading down to it. The inferior court is kept here the 
second Tuesday in March and December, and the superior the last Tues- 
day in January. Capt. Uring writes that " Charlestown is divided from 
Boston by a large navigable river, which runs several miles up the coun- 
try. It is near half as big, but not so conveniently situated for trade, 
though capable of being made as strong, it standing also on a peninsula. 
' Tis said one thousand vessels clear annually from these two towns only, 
more than from all the European Colonies in America not in English 

1742. The town voted, July 12, to receive two hundred pounds 
appropriated by the General Court towards building a fortification 
in town, and to request the Governor to order it in such place as 
he shall see fit. A committee reported to the town in favor of a 
" platform and breastwork, one hundred and twenty feet front." 

The selectmen ordered that " Mr. William Hopping and com- 
pany, who have the care of the water engines, be desired to repair 
the town's engine with iron tire to the wheels, and Mr. Lemmon's 
engine with new cog-wheels ; and also provide a new ladder, two 
fire-hooks and poles, for the town's service." 

At a meeting of the selectmen, and Jonathan Dowse and Joseph 
Lemmon, Esquires, " two of his Majesty's justices for the county 
of Middlesex, Mr. Thomas Symmes was granted liberty to erect 
a Potter's kiln on his own land near his dwelling-house." 

1743. Mr. Isaac Royal presented the town one hundred pounds, 
and the latter, May 10, voted to appropriate it towards building a 
new ministerial house. Mr. Royal was representative, and gave 
for several years the amount of his pay to the town. He also gave 

n 1745, £ 80 to the School at the Neck. 
The town paid forty-three shillings for making a pair of stocks. 

1 Vol. I. p. 192. 


The selectmen, September 5, passed the following vote : — 

" Ordered that the town treasurer pay unto the Hon. Ezekiel Cheever, 
Esq., the sum of fifteen pounds, to be by him delivered unto the chiefs of 
the three fire enginemen, belonging to Boston, for their forwardness and 
assistance at the late fire in this town, and that they have the thanks of 
the selectmen (in behalf of the town) for their seasonable help." 

A fire society — the Ancient Fire Society — was formed in this 
town, November 8 ; it is the first notice of an institution of the 
kind in town I have met with. 

A tavern was kept near Medford bridge, owned by Isaac Royal, 
having the sign of Admiral Vernon. The advertisement read : 

" Any persons before-handed, so as to lay in a good stock of 
liquors and other necessaries for a tavern, may meet with proper 
encouragement from Isaac Royal, Esq." The next advertisement 
is that a person " has a handsome mourning coach, with a pair of 
good horses, to let out to any funeral at ten shillings, old tenor, 
each funeral." * 

1744. In February the journals note the appearance of a 
Comet, which was so large and bright as to be seen in the day- 
time " with its lucid train." It was a time when the eloquent 
Whitfield and his contemporaries were preaching ; and the Post 
says: " It gives much uneasiness to timorous people, especially 
women, who will needs have it, that it portends some dreadful 
judgments to this our land." The editor was rather disposed to 
regard it, if it made people more just and frugal, as " the most 
profitable itinerant preacher and friendly new-light that had yet 

The town voted to repair the almshouse, enclose it " with a 
suitable fence, to extend from the southwesterly corner of the prison 
fence, as far as the school-house or highway, and so on a square ; " 
and to use it for a workhouse. 

At a meeting of the selectmen, " Capt. John Codman (by order 
of the Hon. Col. Spencer Phipps, Esq.) moved, that they provide 
a stock of powder for one hundred and eighty-five men, being the 
number of listed soldiers under his command." 

1745. A legal meeting was called, February 14, on a petition 
of forty-seven of the citizens, at the court-house, "to know what 
encouragement " the town would give to induce men to enlist, and 

1 Boston Evening Post, Nov. 21. 


" proceed in the intended expedition against Cape Breton, under 
Mr. Bartholomew Trow," who had orders to raise a company. 
It was voted to raise, by a tax, twenty shillings as a bounty to each 
man who enlisted ; and Mr. Samuel Dowse offered to advance " the 
money aforesaid for the aforesaid service," and " stay for the same 
until the tax be made and collected." 

1746. The records contain notices of citizens sent this year to 
the workhouse, and of the purchase of oakum to keep them in 
employment. John Chamberlain was appointed " assistant or 
master " of it, and the chief direction was placed under the over- 
seers of the poor. Regulations were drawn up by the selectmen 
for the government of the workhouse, and accepted at the annual 
meeting in March, 1747. 

1747. Under date of October 12, Joseph Calef, leather-dresser, 
of this town, advertised that his house had been broken open, and 
" one dozen yellow sheep skins, one dozen cloth colored thin skins 
for gloves, ten sheep-skins, cloth colored, for breeches, very much 
upon the red," and one hundred pounds, had been stolen. 

A committee appointed to build and sell pews in the meeting 
house, reported that they had received ^716, for the sale of pews. 
The highest sum any brought was £ 144, — the lowest £ 124. The 
money thus obtained, after paying the heir of Rev. Joseph Stevens 
for a pew for the use of the ministry, was appropriated to repair 
the meeting-house. 

The town, for several years, endeavored to get " a machine to 
weigh hay with." It raised this year two hundred pounds to pay 
"Nathaniel Wales of Boston," for one to be " completed every 
way as good " as one lately erected at Roxbury. James Bradish 
agreed to take care of it for one half of the earnings. 

1748. An addition of £ 100 was made to the salary of the 
grammar school-master, the school-house was repaired, and a com- 
mittee, — Mr. Thaddeus Mason, Capt. Ebenezer Kent, Mr. Samuel 
Bradstreet, Capt. Edward Sheafe, and Mr. James Russell, — were 
appointed to visit the school once, at least, a quarter, to examine 
it, and the children that were admitted to it. 

Notwithstanding the by-laws made against forestallers they con- 
tinued to increase. The following paragraphs from the Boston 
Evening Post show public feeling on this subject : — 

" It has been computed, that there are above one thousand able bodied 


men in the towns not far from Boston who have wholly left off lahor, 
and are turned butchers, and forestallers ; and that their practice is, to 
buy up, at any rate, cattle, sheep, calves, fowls, &c, (dead or alive) to 
sell out at an exorbitant price in Boston. This is a most pernicious 
practice, and a very growing evil, which it is high time some effectual 
methods were found out to prevent. 

" Last week, one Mr. Kill-mad-Ox, a Roxbury butcher, having bought 
thirty -five sheep in a neighboring town, was driving 'em home to kill for 
this market ; but being met by some of the faculty, they offered him forty 
shillings a-head more for the sheep than they cost him (£10. 6s.,) know- 
ing that Boston must pay for all at last ; which he modestly accepted of 
and delivered 'em the sheep. Poor Boston ! that lies at the mercy of 
such blood-hounds, — these dregs of human nature, — the very sweep- 
ings of the creation." 

1749. The selectmen " approbated and allowed Mr. Matthew 
Gushing to keep a private school in this town to instruct youth in 
reading, writing, and cyphering, and other science, he having been 
recommended as a person of sober and good conversation." 

A fire broke out in a building owned by Captain John Codman, 
which consumed several shops. The loss was six thousand pounds 
old tenor. 

The Boston Evening Post of October 30, has the following 
advertisement : — "To be sold by Samuel Henly, Ezekiel 
Cheever, Jr., and Francis Dizer, of Charlestown, a parcel of 
likely negro boys and girls just imported from Africa." 

1750. The town voted to maintain two schools within the 
Neck, — a grammar-school to be kept in the old town-house, and 
a writing-school in the school-house. Matthew Cushing was 
appointed the grammar-master, and Abijah Hart the writing- 
master, — each to have sixty pounds salary. The next year, 
however, there was but one school within the Neck, and Seth 
Sweetser was the master. 

Mr. Eleazer Phillips of this town, in a letter to the Boston 
Evening Post, dated December 20, 1750, recommended the culti- 
vation of silk. He stated that he brought eggs from Philadelphia, 
and procured two crops in a summer; and concluded by saying: 
"I believe we may easily raise enough to over-balance our trade to 
our mother country, and believe they would encourage it." 

1751. The county court applied to the town to appropriate a 
part of the lower floor of the court-house, ten feet wide and eighteen 
feet long, for an office in which to keep the county records. The 
town gave its consent. 

Ebenezer Kinnersley, in a long advertisement, proposed to give 


two lectures in Faneuil Hall, Boston, " On the newly discovered 
electrical fire." Twenty experiments were promised in the first 
lecture, three of which were as follows : — 

" XVIII. The salute repulsed by the ladies' fire ; or fire darting from a 
lady's lips, so that she may defy any person to salute her. 

" XIX. Eight musical bells rung by an electrified phial of water. 

" XX. A battery of eleven guns discharged by fire issuing out of a 
person's finger." 1 

1752. The present method of dating commenced. Previous to 
this time the year was reckoned to begin March 25. Hence, on the 
town records there is a date of March 14, 1750, and the next one, 
April 1, 1751, — both 1751. The first date this year is January 
6, 1752. 

The small-pox raged in town this year. A vessel having the 
disease on board, arrived in November, 1751, and a citizen on the 
9th was sick with it. The selectmen took prompt means to pre- 
vent its increase, by removing the patient to " Penny 'Ferry 
House," on the north side of Mystic river. Others, however, 
caught the disorder, and "high fences" were placed across the 
streets near the infected houses, and " a flag hung out according 
to law." But the disease baffled all efforts to check it ; and for 
months the records are full of notices of what was done for the 
poor, the sick, and the dead. The bells ceased to be tolled at 
funerals, and in some cases burials were made at midnight. That 
the people without the Neck might vote, without danger, " with 
their brethren," a town-meeting was called, June 9, at the house 
Jabez Whittemore. It was adjourned " to the Common under the 
great tree." The selectmen, August 20, ordered, " That no per- 
sons in the town presume to inoculate themselves, or any of their 
families," without their consent. In September the disease abated; 
and on the 14th the selectmen allowed the sexton " to ring and toll 
the bell as usual." A contribution for the poor, during this dis- 
tressing season, of £43. 11. 7 was received from Watertown. 

1753. The selectmen ordered, January 5, " that it be adver- 
tised in two of the newspapers, that the public may be informed 
that the inhabitants of this town are all well of the small-pox, and 
the houses well cleansed." 

The Boston Gazette, of January 16, 1753, has the following in- 
teresting communication : — 

1 Boston Evening Post of October 7. u 


" Sir — That the public may be acquainted wilh the state of the case, 
respecting the late visitation of Providence by the small-pox in Charles- 
town, and that a revenue of glory may be given to God, through the 
thanksgivings of many, for the singular gentleness and moderation of that 
malignant disease among us. You are desired to insert the following ac- 
count of it in your next paper. 

" It stands thus : 624 persons have been visited with it, from its begin- 
ning in May, 1752, to its removal in December following. Of these, 317 
have had it in the natural way, and 307 had it by inoculation. In the 
natural way, 17 have died, which (without descending to fractions) is 
about 1 in 18, or 5 in 100. In the inoculated way 5 died, which is about 
1 in 61, or 1 and almost two-thirds in 100. And the proportion of all that 
died, to the whole number visited in both ways, is about 1 in 28. 
N. B. Of the above there were 47 negroes and 1 Indian, and not one of 
them died with it. 

" There were 85 that remained within the Neck, that were not visited 
with it. And about 355 removed out of the town to escape it, and but 
two of them died while absent ; both of which went away under the lan- 
guishments of a consumption. 

" The bill of mortality then amounted to but 65, near to which it com- 
monly arose in other years : and when other epidemical sicknesses have 
prevailed among us, it has been augmented much above it. 

" So that the mercies of the Lord herein, have been distinguishing^ 
great to us, as well as to our neighbor town : may the riches of divine 
patience and goodness lead us all to repentance." 
Charlestown, January 15, 1753. 

Thomas Symmes, in behalf of the deacons of the church, pe- 
titioned the General Court for liberty to burn about thirty-five 
pounds, old tenor, of broken bills of credit collected for the sup- 
port of public worship, " which by accident had been eaten by 
rats " so that their exact value could not be ascertained ; and pray- 
ed for an allowance of this amount out of the public treasury. 
The court allowed six pounds for them, and ordered them burnt. 

A tax was levied for several years on carriages to support a 
linen manufactory in Boston. From the returns of this rate, it 
appears there were in this town this year, one chariot, thirteen 
chaises, and seventy-one chairs. There were not so many assessed 
in the four succeeding years. In 1757 there were taxed for this 
purpose, in this Colony, six coaches, eleven chariots, three hun- 
dred and twenty-six chaises, and nine hundred and seventy chairs. 

1754. Petitions were read in town-meeting from Cambridge 
and Medford, praying that certain lands belonging to this town 
might be set off to those towns. The town adopted answers to 
these petitions, and appointed a committee to present them to the 
General Court. Stoneham also prayed for a portion of this town. 
An old document, without date, states that Cambridge asked for 


twelve hundred acres, and Medford twenty-eight hundred acres. 
The Medford petitioners were successful. A track lying on the 
north and south side of Mystic river was set off to that town ; and 
Charlestown was relieved from the charge of maintaining any part 
of the bridge standing over Mystic river, and the Causeway on the 
north side of this river. 

The town, March 4, voted "that the old town-house be improv- 
ed for a spinning-school ; " and the sum of fifty pounds, old tenor, 
and no more, to repair the same for that purpose." At a meeting, 
May 30, Hon. Daniel Russell, chairman of the committee of the 
spinning-school, stated to the town the progress that it had made, 
and the encouragement to proceed further ; and presented the 
town " with the thanks of the society or undertakers " for what had 
been done. 

At a town-meeting, October 14, a proposed "Excise Bill on 
spirituous liquors, and also his Excellency's speech relative there- 
to," were read ; when it was voted, unanimously, to oppose the 
bill, and the representative was instructed "to use his utmost en- 
deavor that the same do not pass." Governor Shirley, who had 
denounced the bill as inconsistent with the natural rights of every 
family, was thanked " for his paternal care of his government." 
The object of the proposed law was not to restrict the sale of 
liquors, but to collect a tax on the consumers of it; and one pro- 
vision of it authorized the collector to require every householder 
to return, under oath, the quantity used in his family that had been 
purchased of a licensed dealer. 

1755. The town appropriated one hundred pounds for the pur- 
pose "of building fish-market houses on the town's lands on Wil- 
loughby Creek," near the old Ferry. 

The selectmen voted, May 19, "that they would all wait on 
Madam Temple, to return thanks in behalf of the town for her late 
husband, Robert Temple, Esq., his donation of £ 20, L. M., to 
the ten poorest widows in this town." 

The selectmen received, November 24, a notification from a 
committee, appointed by the General Court, respecting the French 
Neutrals, — inhabitants cruelly removed from their homes in 
Nova Scotia, and distributed among the Colonies. The proportion 
of Massachusetts was about one thousand, and of this town, 
twelve. The selectmen ordered them, " for the present, put into 


the workhouse and supplied with necessaries." It was agreed 
that each selectman should have the care of them a week at a time. 
An extraordinary execution took place this year. Captain John 
Codman, of this town, an active military officer and respected citi- 
zen, had three negro domestics, Mark, Phillis and Phcebe, who 
poisoned him by arsenic. Mark procured the drug and the fe- 
males administered it. Phoebe, said to have been the most guilty, 
became evidence against the others, and was transported to the 
West Indies. The Boston Evening Post, of September 22, con- 
tains the following account of the execution : — 

" Thursday last, in the afternoon, Mark, a negro man, and Philhs, a 
negro woman, both servants to the late Captain John Codman of Charles- 
town, were executed at Cambridge for poisoning their said master, as 
mentioned in this paper some weeks ago. The fellow was hanged, and 
the woman was burned at a stake about ten yards distant from the gallows. 
They both confessed themselves guilty of the crime for which they suffer- 
ed, acknowledged the justice of their sentence, and died very penitent. 
After execution, the body of Mark was brought down to Charlestown 
Common, and hanged in chains on a gibbet erected there for that purpose."! 

1756. Twenty-two citizens petitioned that, in case there was 
hereafter an impress of men ordered, this town would obtain 
its quota by a tax, " as a more just and equitable way than had 
formerly been used." 

1757. The town sold the horse-pasture, situated at Moulton's 
Point, for £ 70 to Captain Samuel Henly. 

A town-meeting was held, March 10, relative to enlisting men 
for " the intended expedition " of Lord Loudon, when it was voted 
unanimously, " at least 123 voters " being present, to " allow a 
sum not exceeding ten pounds, lawful money, besides the province 
bounty " to such persons as enlisted. It was also voted to raise 
£ <14, old tenor, to reimburse Messrs. Codman and Townsend for 
money advanced by them " for the last impress of men in this 
town." The sum of <£825, old tenor, was appropriated for the 
men enlisted under Lord Loudon. The names of the men that 
enlisted were, Thomas Lord, Thomas Edes, Samuel Baker, Abra- 
ham Edes, Benjamin Peirce, Joseph Leathers, Thomas Orgin, 
Barret Rand, John Sherman, Joseph Rand, Jr., William Symmes, 
Nathan Bullen. 

i Dr. Bartlett's Mass. Hist. Coll., Vol. XXII. p. 107. He says the 
place where Mark was suspended was " on the northerly side of "Cam- 
bridge road, about a quarter of a mile above our peninsula, and the gibbet 
remained till a short time before the Revolution." 


1758. The town voted to apply to the General Court for liberty 
for a lottery to raise money to pave the highway or " county road," 
Main-street, " from the pavements and upwards to the Causeway," 
at the Neck. In their petition, this street was represented to be 
in a bad condition. 

Eight leather buckets were bought for the town's engine, located 
near Cape Breton tavern. There were three fire-engines, manned 
by twenty-four men. Governor Pownal excused the latter by a 
special order, from doing military duty during the time they be- 
longed to the engines. 

The town voted, April 17, that eight dollars be paid to each 
man that enlisted in the Canada expedition, — not exceeding the 
number called for, forty-eight. 

1759. The First Parish of Cambridge, for the third time within 
ten years, asked the General Court to annex a portion of this town 
adjoining it to Cambridge to pay minister's taxes. The town op- 
posed this petition by a strong remonstrance, signed by Edward 
Sheaffe, Jr., John Foye and Ebenezer Kent. It is too long to in- 
sert entire. In reference to the prospects of the town, it stated : — 

" That the circumstances of this town are growing worse every day by 
a decay in trade, occasioned by great and heavy losses at sea, so that the 
number of tons of shipping owned in this town is little more than half as 
many as when we answered Cambridge second petition. Also by an in- 
crease of many poor widows, 1 occasioned by the death of our seafaring 
men, many of whom died in a miserable captivity in this war, especially 
those taken in the service of this government in the Snow Prince of 
Wales ; so that the sum raised for the support of the poor this year (though 
higher than in any former years) will not answer that end by more than 
fifty pounds, L. M. Add to this, that since the second petition aforesaid 
this Honorable Court set off from this town to the town of Medford, as 
many acres of land as now remain within our contracted limits. These 
distressing circumstances prevent our doing what we apprehend equal 
for our reverend ministers — the sum we pay them being no way equal 
to what is paid by the First Parish in Cambridge to the Rev. Mr. Ap- 
pleton. The number of widows, the particular causes of our distressed 
circumstances, have been so lately laid before this Hon. Court (to which, 
if need be, we refer) we think it needless to say more on this head." 

The committee say in reference to the support of public worship : 

" That although the practice in this town, at present, is to pay our rev- 
erend minister's salary by a voluntary contribution, we are very appre- 
hensive that if our circumstances continue to decay, or our reverend minis- 
ters should require a competent support, we should be obliged to come to 
the disagreeable method of taxing our people ; and shall then have occasion 

1 Ip 1753 there were one hundred and thirty-one widows within the Neck. 


for every acre of land now within the very contracted limits of this town 
to enable us to support the gospel among ourselves." 

Near the conclusion the committee remark : — 

" Your respondents are not conscious that we, or our ancestors, have 
ever done any thing to offend the government, or to induce this Honorable 
Court to reduce this town in such a manner, that from its being the second 
town settled in the Old Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, and one of the 
largest in this county, to be one of the smallest in the whole province." 

In a Diary kept in this town there is the following record : — 

" Men that went from Charlestown upon the expedition, 1759 : sailed 
from the Castle 24th of April. 

Capt. Thomas Cheever, Lieut. John Trumbull, Joseph Rand, Jr., 

Richard Kettle, Nath'l Rand, Jr., Joseph Frofhingham, 

Soloman Phipps, Tho. Brazer, Stephen Sweetser, 

Robert Standley, Samuel Ellis, Edmund Peney, 

Nathaniel Lamson, James Manning, Anderson Linch, 

James Peirce, Jacob Rhodes, John Hollowman, 

Wm. Gibson, Jr., Wm. Dunlap, Thos. Capon, 

Isaiah Tufts, Samuel Trumbull, John Kettle, 

Robert Smith, Benjamin Dowse, John Flinn, 

Joshua Hooper, Joshua Scottow, Monroe." 

The guns at Castle William and the Battery at Boston and 
Charlestown were fired, Sept. 22, upon receiving the news of a 
victory being gained by Prince Ferdinand. 

1760. The subject of the salary of the ministers was often 
brought before the town. The money was raised by tax (see page 
160) but a few years ; and then down to the present time by vol- 
untary contribution. This was taken up in the church, and some- 
times fell short of the sum the town agreed to give them, when the 
selectmen officially notified the deacons, and they stated the deficien- 
cy to the congregation. This year a new method appears to have 
been proposed ; for a committee, of which Richard Cary was chair- 
man, was appointed to wait upon each church-goer, and see what 
he would " put into the contribution box each Sabbath ; " and the 
town in May, authorized the deacons to give the ministers " equal- 
ly between them " what money was collected the day previous, and 
present an account of the collections at the annual meeting. The 
weekly contributions received " by the box " from March 22, 1752, 
to May 12, 1760, were <£9059.4. 7; from May 12, 1760, to May 
18, 1761, were ^1590.18.4; from May 25, 1761, to May 10, 
1762, were £ 1513. 15. 6 ; and in 1763 were £ 1356. 14. 

The town voted to build an engine-house " on the Green before 
Cape Breton Tavern," near the Bunker Hill House. 

The Boston News Letter of July 17, 1760, contains a long ad- 


vertisement in relation to the " Scheme of a Lottery," which the 
town had permission to make to raise money for paving the high- 
way in this town from the Ferry to the Neck. The managers 
were James Russell, Caleb Call, Isaac Foster, Nathaniel Rand, 
David Nevvall, Samuel Kent and Jabez Whittemore. It may be 
curious to read the plan of " Charlestown Lottery, No. One." It 
was described as follows : — 

" It consists of 6000 Tickets, at two dollars each, 1255 of which are 
benefit tickets of the following value, viz. : 

1 Prize of 1000 


. is 

1000 Dollars. 

1 " " 500 





2 Prizes " 250 





15 " " 100 

f C 




12 " " 50 





12 " " 40 





10 " » 20 





202 " " 10 





1000 " " 4 






1255 Prizes, amounting 

10,800 Dollars. 

4745 Blanks. 

6000 Tickets at 2 Dollars each 


12,000 Dollars. 

To be paid in Prizes 




1200 Dollars, 

to be applied to the purpose aforesaid." 
The managers stated that " as gold as well as silver will be re- 
ceived for tickets, the prizes will be paid off in like manner. 
They also stated : 

" As this lottery is formed for a public benefit, the way being a consid- 
erable part of the year extremely founderous, miry and bad, the most diffi- 
cult to pass with carriages of any between the Ferry and Portsmouth, and 
calculated so much in favor of adventurers, the managers doubt not of a 
speedy sale of the tickets, and that they shall be able to draw in a short 

There was a great fire in Boston, in the spring, and under date 
of April 4, it is stated that "the money collected on the pub- 
lic Fast for the sufferers by the late great fire at Boston, was 
,£664. 14s." 

1761. At the May meeting the money voted for town expenses 
was as follows : — 

L. M. Old Tenor. 
School within the Neck, . . £66.13.4 500 
School without the Neck, . . 24 . 180 
Town Treasurer's salary, . .10 . 75 


Town Clerk's salary, 



Highways, . 




Contingent charges, 




Supply for the Poor, 




Looking after the Clock, 




Public Buildings and Repairs, 




Sexton and Town Messenger, 




Sundries, .... 


6. 8 


£450. 3.4 £3376.5 

1763. The wife of one of the ministers, Rev. Hull Abbott, died 
this year, and the selectmen voted to bury her at the expense of 
the town, and to conform to former precedents in this town of the 
like nature. It was also voted, that if inhabitants of other par- 
ishes should think themselves aggrieved by a tax for this purpose, 
that their proportion should be abated. The sum raised for the 
funeral was £414. 4. 10. old tenor : or £55. 4. 7. lawful money. 

1764. The small-pox was in Boston, and the selectmen, March 
19, ordered " the Crier by crying it through the town, notify the 
inhabitants to have their chimneys swept, as their being on fire, if 
the small-pox spreads, may be of dangerous consequence." At a 
special town-meeting it was voted, that the selectmen may give 
liberty to the inhabitants to inoculate, if the small-pox comes into 
this town." At another meeting, April 4, it was voted to permit 
" the inhabitants to go into inoculation for themselves and fami- 
lies," to begin " next Saturday afternoon';" and that " none, either 
inhabitants or strangers, be inoculated in this town after the 25th 
of this month." The distemper did not rage with its usual vio- 
lence, and the town-clerk soon advertised in the Boston journals 
that the town was free from it. 

An important change was made in the public school this year. 
The school-house was repaired, and the old town-house fitted suit- 
able for a new school-room ; and instead of an usher, William 
Harris, the father of the late venerable Dr. Thaddeus Mason 
Harris, was appointed " to instruct in writing and cyphering." 
The town records have the following account : — 

" August 20, 1764. This day the selectmen, accompanied by the 
Rev. Mr. Prentice, and some other gentlemen of the town, visited the 
school, and after good advice given the children, and solemn prayers to 
God for his blessing, they gave Mr. William Harris the caie of the 
writing-school." Seth Sweetser, the town clerk, was the reading-master. 

r /// s r /Mr ////?/ /r /<///</(/ /)/■>//<'>// /// • ///, 


ved for Urolta 



1764 to 1771. The Revolution and the Towns. — Acts of Trade.—- 
Stamp Act. — Riots in Boston. — Proceedings of the Town. — Re- 
peal of the Stamp Act. — The Indemnity Question. — Acts of 1767. 

— Non-Importation Policy. — Boston Convention. — Day of Fasting. 

— Domestic Manufactures. — Ninety-two and Forty-five. — Opposition 
to Bishops. — Renewal of the Non-Importation Agreement. — Pro- 
ceedings in relation to Tea. 

We have reached the most important and interesting period of 
American History, that of the Revolution. The towns acted a 
memorable part in this great event. They were the nurseries of 
that independent spirit which so often manifested itself in the 
Provincial Legislature, and which naturally arrayed itself against 
commercial monopoly and parliamentary supremacy. Their ten- 
dency was early seen by the advocates of royal prerogative. Hence 
royal instructions opposed their increase, and hence the protest of 
Hutchinson (1757) against the incorporation of Danvers. 1 But 
the patriots gloried in their existence; and through their local 
councils, their legal meetings, presented dangerous political meas- 
ures to the mind of every citizen. In discussions elicited in this 
way, an intelligent public opinion was created, concentrated, im- 
movably set against oppression, and directed in the incipient 
stao-es of organized resistance. And it is but bare justice to admit, 
that these little councils were equal to this all-important work. " If 
within the Continental Congress, patriotism shone more conspicu- 
ously, it did not there exist more truly, nor burn more fervently ; 
it did not render the day more anxious, or the night more sleepless; 
it sent up no more ardent prayer to God for succor; and it put 
forth, in no greater degree, the fulness of its effort, and the energy 
of its whole soul and spirit, in the common cause, than it did in 
the small assemblies of the towns." " 2 The citizens of Charles- 
town, whether tested by their individual, or by their corporate 
acts, manifested a patriotism equal to the demands of the time. 

1 Hutchinson's Mass., Vol. III. p. 53. 2 Daniel Webster. 



They were united to their noble neighbors of Boston by the ties 
of kindred, of politics, of suffering and of a common charity ; and 
there was not a measure, however bold, devised by the patriots of 
Fanueil Hall, that was not cordially supported by those of Bunker 
Hill. Surely the moral heroes of these little assemblies deserve no 
less remembrance, than those other heroes who labored so nobly on 
the battle-field. 

The reader is referred to other works for the general history of 
the Revolution ; for the notices of it, in these pages, must necessa- 
rily be confined to such statements as may be considered proper to 
give an intelligible view of the action of the town. 

The resistance to the pretensions of Great Britain commenced 
by opposition to the revenue system. The journals of the year 
1764, abound with memorials and documents showing its injustice, 
and with notices of the increase of domestic manufactures and of 
frugality. One of the prevailing evils was the expensive customs 
at funerals; and in September, the Boston Gazette announced that 
reform in this respect had been " introduced in the town of Charles- 
town, and that at a recent funeral the relations all attended with- 
out any mourning dress." 

The Stamp Act, passed March 22, 1765, was intended to go 
into operation November l. 1 But popular feeling manifested 
itself against it on the 14th of August, in Boston, by burning in 
effigy the stamp distributor, demolishing the proposed stamp office, 
and in other tumults. In detailing the proceedings of this mem- 
orable day, the Boston Gazette of August 19 says: — 

" We are told that the concourse on Wednesday evening was far from 
consisting wholly of the inhabitants of this metropolis, many having come 
from Charlestown, Cambridge and other adjacent towns. The truth of 
which may possibly be hereafter discovered by the vigilance, industry and 
zeal of the Attorney General." 

On Monday, August 26, the most alarming outrages were com- 
mitted in Boston. In writing of them, (Sept. 2) the Gazette re- 
marked : " Most people seem disposed to discriminate between the 
assembly on the 14th of this month and their transactions, and the 
unbridled licentiousness of this mob, — judging them to proceed 
from very different motives, as their conduct was most evidently 

l The selectmen for the year 1765 were, Edward Sheaffe, David Chee- 
ver, Richard Devens, John Harris, John Soley, Samuel Kent, Peter 
Tufts, Jr. The representative, Edward Sheaffe. 



different." The anniversary of the former was observed for many 
years by the sons of liberty ; the proceedings of the latter were 
unsparingly denounced. 

A petition to the selectmen, signed by a number of citizens, 1 
stated that some of the inhabitants of this town were threatened, 
and requested them to call a meeting to see " what method the town 
would take to prevent any mischief being done them." A meeting 
was held on the 28th of August, and after choosing Capt. Edward 
Sheaffe moderator, the following votes were unanimously passed. 

" Voted, That this town has the utmost detestation and abhorrence of 
the outrage committed at Boston on Monday evening last, in the violent 
assault then made on the dwelling-houses of several of the inhabitants 
there by a riotous assembly of persons unknown. 

" Voted, That whereas there is reason to fear that the like disorders 
may be committed in this town, that therefore the magistrates and select- 
men of the town be and are hereby desired to use their utmost endeavors 
to prevent the same. 

" Voted, That the inhabitants of this town will be aiding and assisting 
the magistrates, military officers and selectmen in preventing and sup- 
pressing any such riotous disorder, and to the utmost of their power op- 
pose any attempts that may be made against the persons or properties of 
any of this town. 

" Voted, That such persons as are exempted by law from watching, 
be desired to take their turn with such as are obliged by law, who being 
present, promised to take their turn. 

" Voted, That the eight o"clock bell don't ring at present, and that 
when the bell jingles, it shall be to notify the inhabitants that it is appre- 
hended there is a mob coming, and that they will directly come to the 
court-house, with arms and ammunition, viz. : a good firelock, one-fourth 
pound of powder and at least six bullets."* 

But while the town was ready to repress outrages, it was not 
disposed to countenance, in any way, the Stamp Act. On the 
11th of September another petition 2 was presented to the select- 

1 This petition is 
signed by 

James Russell. 
James Miller. 
Samuel Gary. 
Samuel Henly. 
James Bradish. 
Joseph Lynde. 
R. Temple. 

2 This petition was 
J. Miller. 

William Goodwin. 
Jno. Austin, Jr. 
Nathaniel Austin. 

in the hand-writing of James Russell, and was 

Richard Cary. 
Nathan Adams. 
Isaac Rand. 
Isaiah Edes. 
William Kettell. 
Thomas Gardner. 
Ezekiel Cheever, Jr. 
signed by 
Nathan Adams. 
John Hancock, Jr. 
David Wait. 
Samuel Larkin. 

Peter Edes. 
John Hancock 
Joseph Rand. 
Timo. Austin. 
Galeb Call. 
Nathaniel Rand. 
Isaac Foster. 

John Hay. 
James Fosdick. 
Samuel Conant. 
James Brazer. 



men, requesting a meeting to see if the town would give "instruc- 
tions to their representative for his conduct in the approaching 
session of the General Court." At a meeting on the 17th, Edward 
SheafFe being the moderator, it was voted to instruct the repre- 
sentative ; when " some of the inhabitants " offered a document 
" ready prepared." This was not approved of, and Seth Sweetser, 
Isaac Foster, Nathan Adams, Caleb Call and Samuel Conant were 
appointed a committee to draw up another. The meeting then 
adjourned to the 20th, at which time the following instructions 
were reported to the town : — 

" This being a time when several acts of parliament have a direct ten- 
dency to distress the trade and commerce of this province, and in our 
opinion to deprive us of our rights and privileges granted by royal charter, 
and which we are entitled to, as free-born subjects of Great Britain. And 
in particular the Stamp Act which has thrown the province and the whole 
continent into confusion, and which as we apprehend, will lay not only 
an unconstitutional but an insupportable tax on the colonies, and will strip 
us of our most valuable liberties, as it admits of our properties being tried 
by a court of Admiralty, without a jury, even in such controversies that 
arise from internal concerns. 

" Wherefore we think it our duty in this critical conjuncture of our 
public affiirs to direct you as representative, to be so far from countenanc- 
ing or assisting in the execution of the aforesaid act, that you endeavor 
that such remonstrances may be made to the King and Parliament as may 
be likely to procure the disannulling thereof as soon as possible ; and 
that you be assisting in every proper step that may be taken for the re- 
moval of the heavy burthens on our trade. 

" And as the province is greatly impoverished by the war and decay of 
trade, we desire you to take special care that the public moneys be used 
with the utmost frugality, and that no money be drawn out of the treasury 
and applied to such uses as may tend rather to destroy the liberties of the 
people, than to promote their interest. 

" As to any other matters, though of less consequence, tbat may come 
before the House, we doubt not but you will conduct yourself in such a 
manner that the best interest of the province in general, and the town you 
represent, in particular, may be promoted." 

This firm document, for the period, was " read several times " 
and accepted. It was voted that a copy be given to the represent- 

]saac Rand. Joseph Hopkins. Nathaniel Gorham. 

Jona. Bradish. John Codman. Caleb Symmes. 

Nathaniel Rand. William Conant. Ezekiel Cheever, Jr. 

Nicholas Hopping. Isaiah Edes. Nathaniel Dowse. 

Samuel Dowse. Nathaniel Frothingham. Thomas Harding. 

Timo. Austin. John Larkin. Edward Goodwin. 

John Goodwin. Benjamin Hurd. Edward Goodwin, Jr. 

Nathaniel SheafFe. Bartholomew Trow. John Foye. 
William Wyer. 


ative, and that the original be kept in the clerk's office. 1 It was 
also voted that " the committee insert in the public prints what 
they may think proper relating to the instructions." The follow- 
ing paragraph was all that was printed : — 

" Charlestown, Sept. 20, 1765. The freeholders and other inhabitants 
met by adjournment, and gave instructions to their representative for his 
conduct in the Great and General Court of this Province, relative to the 
Stamp Act, the burdens on trade, and frugality of the public moneys." 

The intelligence, received in September, of a change in the 
British Ministry, the Boston Gazette remarks, " was received with 
extraordinary joy, — far exceeding even that on the conquest of 
Canada." The morning after its reception was ushered in with 
the ringing of bells, and in this town there were, in the evening, 
bonfires and illuminations. 

The prominent question of 1766 2 was, whether the General 
Court should grant compensation to the sufferers in the riots of 
August, 1765. The subject was pressed upon it at the January 
session, but the representatives doubted whether they had "author- 
ity to make their constituents chargeable " with these losses. And 
the subject was referred to the October session, that the towns 
might act upon it. 

Meantime the intelligence of the repeal of the obnoxious Stamp 
Act caused a delirium of joy in the Colonies. The 19th of May 
was set apart in this town for public rejoicings. The day was 
ushered in by the ringing of bells and a display of colors on board 
the shipping. " At noon," according to the Boston Gazette, "the 
Independent Company belonging to Castle William mustered, and 
discharged the cannon at the Battery ; and in the afternoon the 
same company met at the Long Wharf, where a number of the 
principal gentlemen of the town assembled, and the following 
toasts were drank, viz. : 

"The King and British Parliament. 

" Mr. Pitt and all our friends in England, who have exerted 
themselves in favor of the Colonies. 

" Peace and harmony to this government, and a wise improve- 
ment of this happy event. 

1 This document is not copied into the town records. 

2 The selectmen and the representatives were the same as for the 
year 1765. 


" All the true sons of liberty on this continent, who have wisely 
and nobly distinguished themselves upon this very important oc- 

" At every toast seven cannon were discharged, and in the evening 
the houses of the town were beautifully illuminated. In short, the 
whole was conducted with the greatest decency, and every counte- 
nance discovered the sincerest joy upon the reestablishment of our 
happy privileges." 

In this era of good feelings and on the anniversary 1 of the me- 
morable 14th of August, the town passed the following vote : 

" Voted, That the representative for this town use his endeavors in the 
General Court, that the sufferers in the town of Boston in the late trouble- 
some times, have a consideration made them out of the public treasury 
(upon their applying in a Parliamentary way) for what it shall appear 
they have really lost." 

Another town-meeting was held on this subject, November 21, 
when James Russell was moderator. A Bill then pending in the 
General Court, indemnifying the sufferers and providing for a free 
pardon to the rioters, was read. The town-clerk concluded the 
record in the following manner : 

" Then it was put to vote by the moderator whether the bill was agree- 
able to the town, and voted in the affirmative. 

" Voted, or rather more properly speaking, it was said, that the bill be 
left to the representative of the town to act upon it as he shall think for 
the public benefit." 2 

The rejoicings on the repeal of the Stamp Act were soon over. 
Parliament, asserting the right of " binding the Colonies in all cases 
whatsoever," passed the acts of 1767, 3 imposing duties on paper, 
glass, painters' colors and teas ; establishing a general civil list ; a 
custom-house office, and board of commissioners. These meas- 
ures were pronounced unconstitutional and aroused resistance ; 
and patriots before the close of the year exulted that " the trump 

1 At the first celebration of this day, the following regular toasts were 
given: " Detestation of the villainous proceedings on the 26lh of August 
last." " May the everlasting remembrance of the 14th of August serve 
to revive the dying sparks of liberty whenever America shall be in dan- 
ger." — Boston Gazette. 

2 This year, on June 28, the saw, leather and grist-mills in this town 
were burnt. 

3 The selectmen for 1767 were Edward Sheaffe, David Cheever, John 
Soley, Samuel Kent, John Codman, William Conant, Thomas Robbins. 
This year Lovell's Island was sold by the town to Elisha Leavit of Hing- 
ham, for £ 266 13s. 4d. 


of freedom and independence sounded again throughout this conti- 
nent." The policy adopted to meet this new attack on colonial 
rights, was to make the British merchants and manufacturers feel 
it, and thus to enlist them in their favor; and this by discour- 
aging foreign importations and promoting domestic manufactures. 

It was at this time that a home herb was found to supply the place 
of tea. The Massachusetts Gazette, of November 5, states that 
" a certain herb, lately found in this Province," begins "to take 
place in the room of green and bohea tea, which is said to be of a 
very salutary nature, as well as a more agreeable flavor; that it was 
called Labrador ; " and that immense quantities of it grew all over 
New England. 

A town-meeting was held, November 17, to take measures " to 
encourage industry and frugality, and also the manufactures of 
this province, and thereby do all that in them lies to recover this 
people from the difficulties they labor under, occasioned by the 
great decay of trade and the consumption of sundry superfluous ar- 
ticles among us." After choosing James Russell the moderator, 
Edward Sheaffe, Isaac Foster, Samuel Kent, John Soley and Ben- 
jamin Hurd were appointed a committee to take the subject into 
consideration, and report, at an adjournment of the meeting. On 
Friday, Nov. 20, the day on which the new act was to take effect, 
the citizens again assembled. The committee reported, that it was 
"for the advantage of this Province in general, and this town in 
particular, to do what in them lies to promote industry, economy, 
and manufactures among them, and thereby prevent the fatal con- 
sequences that may follow a contrary conduct ; " and recommend- 
ed the following votes : — 

" Voted, That this town will by all prudent and leg-al means encourage 
the several manufactories that now are, and the setting up of all others 
that may be judged useful for the Province and lessen the use of all super- 
fluities among us. And not purchase any of the following articles import- 
ed from abroad, viz. : loaf sugar, cordage, anchors, chaises and carriages 
of all sorts, horse furniture, men's and women's hats, apparel ready made, 
especially leather breeches, household furniture, gloves, men's and wo- 
men's shoes, sole-leather, sheathing and deck nails, gold and silver and 
thread lace of all sorts, gold and silver buttons, wrought plate of all sorts, 
diamond, stone and paste ware, snufF, mustard, clocks and watches, silver- 
smiths' and jewellers' ware, broadcloths that cost more than ten shillings 
per yard, muffs, furs, and tippets and all sorts of millinery ware, starch, 
women's and children's stays, fire-engines, china-ware, silk and cotton vel- 
vets, gauze, pewterers, hollow ware, linseed oil, glue, lawns, cambrics, 
silks of all sorts for garments, malt liquor and cheese. 


" Voted, That this town will strictly adhere to the late regulation with 
respect to funerals, and will not purchase any gloves, but such as are man- 
ufactured here, nor buy any new garments upon such occasion but what 
shall be absolutely necessary." 

The committee recommended the following agreement (which 
was adopted) to be subscribed : — 

" Whereas this Province labors under a heavy load of debt incurred in 
the course of the late war, and the inhabitants by reason thereof, must be 
for some time subject to very burdensome taxes, and our trade has for some 
years been in the decline, and is now under great disadvantages, our me- 
dium very scarce and the balance of trade against us. And we the sub- 
scribers being sensible that it is absolutely necessary, in order to extricate 
ourselves out of these distressed circumstances, to promote industry and 
economy, and manufactures among ourselves, and by these means prevent 
the unnecessary importation of several articles from abroad, and do what 
in us lies to preserve our country from ruin do therefore promise and en- 
gage to and with each other, that we will encourage the use and consump- 
tion of all articles manufactured in any of the British Colonies in America, 
and more especially in this province ; and that we will not, from and after 
the 31st day of December next, during the space of eighteen months next 
ensuing, purchase any of the articles, (mentioned in the report of the com- 
mittee) ; and that we will strictly adhere to the late regulations with re- 
spect to funerals (as voted by the town) ; and will not use any gloves but 
what are manufactured here, nor purchase any new garments upon any 
such occasion but what shall be absolutely necessary." i 

The town appointed David Cheever, John Codman, and Timo- 
thy Austin a committee to get this paper '•' filled up as soon as 

The year 176S 2 was memorable for the arrival of troops in 
Boston ; and the patriots of that town, Sept. 14, sent a circular to 
other towns, signed by the selectmen, proposing that " A Commit- 
tee of Convention " should convene, to devise measures suitable 
for that " dark and difficult season." This proceeding was re- 
garded by the royalists as an offence of a very high nature, sub- 
jecting all who obeyed it to the penalties of the law. This town, 
however, promptly responded to the call. At a meeting, Sept. 
19, after the Boston circular had been read, it was unanimously 
voted to choose a " Committee," and Edward Sheaffe was selected 

1 This form was transmitted from Boston. The Boston Gazette of May 
4, 1767, has the following paragraph. Thursday last, Richard Hodges, 
John Newingham Clarke and Magnus Mode, for money-making, stood one 
hour in the pillory at Charlestown, had one of their ears cut off, and re- 
ceived twenty stripes each, pursuant to their sentence the pieceding week. 

2 The selectmen for 17G8 were Edward Sheaffe, Caleb Call, John 
Codman, William Conant, Thomas Robbins, John White, Peleg Stearns ; 
and Edward Sheaffe was representative. 


It was then " voted, unanimously, to have a day of fasting and 
prayer in this town, to implore the Supreme Governor of the world 
for guidance and direction to the people of this province in such a 
time as this." And three of the selectmen, and the two deacons, 
having ascertained that it would be agreeable to the ministers, it 
was appointed for the next day. On these occasions it was cus- 
tomary to have regular services in the church. In one of the 
towns this year the text preached from was : " Is Israel a servant; 
is he a home born slave ? Why is he spoiled 1 " 

In a few days after this Convention was held, September 28, 
two regiments of troops landed in Boston amidst the sullen silence 
of the people. The narrative of the proceedings that followed, 
however, does not belong to the history of this town. The Boston 
News Letter of Oct. 6, 1768, states that the inhabitants of Charles- 
town unanimously agreed not to use any more tea; and the Mas- 
sachusetts Gazette, November 3, announced, " on the best author- 
ity," that most of the inhabitants had totally banished the offensive 

The next notice may require illustration. It was for printing 
the North Briton, Number 45, that Wilkes was apprehended in 
England ; and when royal instructions commanded the Massachu- 
setts legislature to rescind its circular Letter recommending united 
action by the Colonies, ninety-two members voted against comply- 
ing with the command. These numbers were considered auspi- 
cious and became watch-words. They were standing toasts and 
were combined in every imaginable manner. 1 Hence the follow- 
ing information was printed, November 21, in the Boston Gazette. 
"On Tuesday, the 8th instant, Forty-five women belonging to 
Charlestown, waited on the Rev. Mr. Abbott, one of the ministers 
there, and spun for and presented him with Ninety-two skeins of 
thread, which, it is said, will be sufficient to make fine linen for 
half a dozen shirts. And on Tuesday last, the same ladies made 
the same present to Mr. Prentice, the other minister of that town ; 

i The following is one of the instances in the Boston Gazette of Jan. 
30, 1769. " A gentleman of the Presbyterian persuasion, aged just forty- 
five, was, on Sunday last, married to a Quaker lady of great fortune of 
the same age ; it is also remarkable that this happy gentleman is her forty- 
fifth suitor. They are determined to name their first son Forty- Five, 
and their first daughter Ninety-Two." 



at both which places they were agreeably and genteelly entertained 
with the productions of this country." 

The same paper also says, that " one of the daughters of liberty 
in Charlestown after suiting herself in a Boston store to articles 
she wanted to purchase, inquired whether the shop-keeper sold 
tea ? She was answered in the affirmative, upon which she ordered 
the articles to be put back, being determined, as the inhabitants 
of that town had universally left off drinking tea, she would pur- 
chase nothing where it w T as sold." 

There was no prominent political measure in 1769 l to call for 
corporate action on the part of the town. But the patriotic fire 
was not allowed, to die away. The policy of discouraging foreign 
imports and of encouraging domestic production, 2 was perseveringly 
adhered to. " We hear," the Boston Gazette of April 24, says, 
" that the inhabitants of the truly patriotic town of Charlestown 
have unanimously come into an agreement not to eat or even suffer 
any lamb to be dressed in their families, till the first of August 
next. An example worthy of the imitation of every other town in 
this His Majesty's Province of Massachusetts Bay." In October 
a chest of tea, imported contrary to the agreement of the mer" 
chants, was taken to Marblehead and there offered for sale ; but 
was soon replaced in the store in Boston. The same paper of 
October 23, says that the person who carted the tea to Marblehead? 
" being at a husking frolic at Charlestown last Thursday evening, 
as soon as discovered, was turned out of the company with the 
greatest marks of contempt." 

The Gazette, of November 6, contains the following account of 

one of the unjustifiable excesses of the time : — 

" Last Thursday afternoon a young woman from the country was decoy- 
ed into one of the barracks in town, and most shamefully abused by some 
of the soldiers there. The person that enticed her thither, with promises 
of disposing of all her marketing there (who also belonged to the country) 
was afterwards taken by the populace and several times ducked in the 

1 The selectmen for 1769 were Isaac Foster, William Conant, John 
Codman, Nathaniel Gorham, Peleg Stearns and Nehemiah Rand ; and 
Edward Sheaffe was representative. When Governor Bernard embarked 
for England there was a bonfire on the heights of this town. 

2 The Weekly News Letter of Nov. 23, 1709, says, " An elegant 
coach in the modern taste was finished last week for an honorable gentle- 
man here. It was made by Captain Paddock, and the workmanship is 
judged to be as complete and as good as any one ever imported." 


water at one of the docks in town. But luckily for him, he made his 
escape sooner than was intended. However, we hear that after he had 
crossed the Ferry to Charlestown, on his return home, the people there 
heing informed of the base part he had been acting, took him and placed 
him in a cart, and after tarring and feathering him (the present popular 
punishment for modern delinquents) they carted him about town for two or 
three hours, as a spectacle of contempt and warning to others from prac- 
tising such vile artifices for the delusion and ruin of the virtuous and inno- 
cent. He was then dismissed." * 

A jealousy of Episcopacy was early entertained in this Colony, 
and was kept alive by the attempt of the Church of England to ex- 
tend its dominion here. Though its forms were disagreeable to 
the Congregational ists, it was the power that endeavored to impose 
them, on which their eyes were steadily fixed. Hence, whenever 
the project of sending a bishop to the Colony was entertained, it 
met with stern resistance. At this period, from 1760 to 1770, it 
was seriously proposed. The patriotic Dr. Mahew wrote, in 1761, 
to Mr. Hollis in England : " We are apprehensive, that there is a 
scheme forming for sending a bishop into this part of the country, 
and that our governor, (Bernard) a true churchman, is deeply in 
the plot." Hollis, in Dec, 1763, remarked in a letter to Dr. Mahew, 
" You cannot be too much on your guard, in this so very important 
an affair." The controversy ran high at this time about it ; and 
this year (1769) the resolute opposition to it was represented in the 
Political Register — an English publication, — by a plate which 
well exhibits the spirit of the time. This opposition was so efficient, 
that Dr. Franklin wrote home in February, 1769, that the design 
of sending a bishop over was dropped. 

1 There were frequent collisions this year, in Boston, between the citi- 
zens and the troops. The following Epitaph, copied from the stone, in 
the Granary burial-yard, by Dr. N. B. Shurtleff, probably relates to an 
occurrence of this kind : — 


of Boston, 

who in Oct'r 1769, during 17 days, 

inspired with 

a generous Zeal for the LAWS, 

bravely and successfully 

opposed a whole British Regt. 

in their violent attempt 

to FORCE him from his 

legal Habitation. 

Happy Citizen when called singley 

to be a Barrier to the Liberties 

of a Continent." 


In 1770 1 the political excitement grew more intense. On the 
5th of March the British troops fired on the people of Boston, and 
on the next day a large part of the population of this town visited 
King-street to see the blood of the victims. The British Parlia- 
ment removed the duties on all articles except tea. Throughout 
this year the patriots urged the non-importation policy, which, at 
length spread through the Colonies. It was their object to make 
it stringent and efficient. 

A petition, 2 dated February 9, requested the selectmen to call 
a meeting to see what measures the town would take to prevent 
the purchase of" any goods of such persons as import them con- 
trary to the agreement of the merchants, or of selling such goods 
as have been so purchased." The selectmen added to the warrant, 
to see what method the town would take " to prevent the use of 
foreign tea in this town for such a term of time as may be agreed 

The meeting was held on February 12, and Edward Sheaffe 
was moderator. A committee, namely, Isaac Foster, Edward 
Sheaffe, Nathan Adams, Richard Devens, William Conant, Na- 
thaniel Gorham, and John Frothingham, were instructed to inquire 
whether any inhabitants of the town had "imported, or bought, or 
sold goods contrary to the agreement of the merchants of Boston ;" 
to " prepare such resolves on the above affair as they should judge 
proper " for the action of the town; and to report at an adjourn- 
ment of the meeting. It was also " voted, that the above commit- 

1 The selectmen chosen March 5, 1770, when " Hon. James Russell, 
Esq.," was moderator, were Isaac Foster, Samuel Kent, William Conant, 
John Codman, Nathaniel Gorham, Peleg Stearns, Nehemiah Rand. Ed- 
ward Sheaffe, on May 14, was chosen representative. 

2 This petition was signed by the following inhabitants : 
Edward Sheaffe. Josiah Harris. William Calder. 
Edward Goodwin. William Ford. John Harris. 
Richard Devens. John Austin, Jr. Tho's Rand. 
Battry Powers. William Goodwin. David Wood, Jr. 
Timothy Goodwin. Ebenezer Breed. Thomas Wood. 
Benjamin Goodwin. .Nathaniel Sheaffe. Abram Snow. 
Seth Sweetser. Joshua Hooper. Samuel Hutchinson. 
Benjamin Hurd. Nathaniel Austin. Nathaniel Frothingham. 
Joseph Hopkins. Francis Dizer. Caleb Symrnes. 

John Larkin. William Capen. Stephen Miller. 

Samuel Conant. Nath'l Phillips, ] artho. Trow. 

Thomas Frothingham. Eliphelet Newell. David Wait. 


tee consult with the selectmen of Boston, or any other persons, 
whether there can be no other method gone into, than that which 
hath been already taken, to prevent the use of foreign tea among 
us." And Nehemiah Rand, Nathaniel Frothingham and John 
Larkin, 2d, were chosen a committee to obtain the names of 
" such inhabitants as had determined to leave off the use of foreign 
tea in their families:" and also such as refused to comply, and 
" lay the same before the town at the adjournment of the meeting." 
The meeting was continued February 15, when the committee 
of inquiry reported as follows: — 

'• We inquired of all the merchants and traders aforesaid, and have re- 
ceived answers from most of them, that they have not directly nor in- 
directly imported or purchased any goods contrary to the agreements of 
said merchants, and that they are determined they will not. 

" And from others of them, viz. : Mrs Abigail Stevens, who declares 
she purchased of one of the importers to the amount of about £600, old 
tenor; Joseph Lyride, Esq., about £200; Mrs. Sarah Bradstreet about 
£ 100 ; and Mr. Nathaniel Austin about £ 300 ; and Mr. Ebenezer 
Breed about £ 241, (these two last of Capt. William Barber) in the space 
of about eight months past : that all the goods remaining unsold they are 
willing to deliver up, to be stored till a general importation shall take 
place, if the town shall require it ; and that they will neither import nor 
purchase any goods contrary to the agreement of the merchants." 

The town accepted the report, and voted that the goods were 
of so small quantity it was not necessary to store them; and that 
no further notice be taken of the affair. The following preamble 
and votes relative to the non-importation agreement were adopted: 

" Whereas, The principal merchants and traders in the town of Boston 
and other trading towns, within this province and throughout this conti- 
nent, have from principles (as we believe) truly patriotic, entered into ar- 
ticles of agreement not to import any British goods (a few articles except- 
ed) until the act of Parliament, imposing duties on tea, glass, paper, &c, 
for the express purpose of raising a revenue in the Colonies, be repealed. 
And notwithstanding every lenient and kind method has been used to 
induce all the merchants and traders to come into this salutary measure ; 
yet some there are, who being without any feeling for a country, to whom 
they owe all the importance they may think themselves to be of, and being 
also destitute of every sentiment of humanity, have not only refused to com- 
ply with, but daringly stand out and continue to counteract the benevolent 
and salutary intentions of the merchants and traders aforesaid, in thus stri- 
ving to help us out of our present distress, and have thereby done all in 
their power to subject millions of truly loyal British subjects, which over- 
spread this wide and extended continent, to bondage and ruin. 

" Therefore, Voted, That we will not, by ourselves or any for or under 
us directly or indirectly, purchase any goods of the persons hereafter men- 
tioned, viz. : John Bernard, James McMasters, Patrick McMasters, John 
Mein, Nathaniel Rogers, William Jackson, Theopholis Lillie, John Tay- 
lor, and Ame and Elizabeth Cummings, all of Boston ; Israel Williams, 


Esq., and Son of Hatfield, and Henry Barnes of Marlboro ; nor will we 
have any intercourse with them, or with any person whatsoever that shall 
purchase goods of either of them after the date hereof, until a general im- 
portation takes place. 

" Voted, That we will not use any foreign tea ourselves nor suffer it to 
be used in our respective families. 

" Voted, That we will use our best endeavors to encourage and support 
the merchants, &c, in their non-importation agreement, to whom this 
town vote their thanks for their constitutional and spirited measures pur- 
sued by them for the good of this province. 1 ' 

Measures were taken to make the action of the town efficient- 
Isaac Foster, Richard Devens and John Codman were appointed 
a " committee of inspection " to take care that the resolves " be 
complied with." Having ordered the proceedings to be published 
and transmitted to the committee of inspection of the merchants 
in Boston, the meeting adjourned. 

But neither public resolves, jealous inspection, nor the tempta- 
tions of the patriotic Labrador tea, could banish from the social 
circle the favorite drug. A son of liberty, of this town, promised 
to the Boston Gazette, (February 5,) "by next week," a list of 
every person in Charlestown who used the baneful herb. But this 
did not accomplish the purpose, and more stringent measures were 
adopted. On the 19th, a number of persons requested a meeting 
to see whether the town would " vote against purchasing any 
goods whatsoever of any person who sells tea." At the meeting, 
March 5, James Russell was moderator, and after voting "that 
the moderator speak his mind about the article of tea," a commit- 
tee was raised to consider " what was proper to be done in the 
affair, and report before the meeting breaks up." Their report 
was not accepted. It was then " voted that Deacon Frothingham, 
Edward Sheaffe and Nathaniel Frothingham be a committee to 
wait on the sellers of tea, and desire them to leave off selling that 
article, as it would be a means to promote the public good ; and 
also to wait on any persons they think use tea, and desire them to 
deny themselves for the sake of the public; and that they acquaint 
the selectmen of Boston of this vote of the town." The meeting 
was adjourned until the 15th ; but the committee not being then 
ready to report, the meeting was again adjourned to the 24th. At 
that time the committee were directed " to go to the sellers of tea 
in this town and inquire whether they would sign against selling tea 
until the revenue acts are repealed." They reported " that they 
had been with all the sellers of foreign tea in this town, that they 


knew of, and that they readily signed against selling it till a general 
importation or sale takes place." Meantime, while this committee 
were engaged in calling upon the traders, Seth Sweetser, Richard 
Devens and Nathaniel Gorham were appointed " to draw up some 
suitable vote for the town to pass." Their report was unanimously 
accepted. After a preamble, which states that " the sellers of 
tea " have " engaged under their hands " not to buy or sell any of 
that commodity, it was " voted, that if any persons whether traders 
or otherwise, should counteract the generous and patriotic agree- 
ment of the above traders, we will withhold all commercial deal- 
ings with them, and look on them as enemies to this much injured 
country." Isaac Foster, Richard Devens, and John Codman, 
were appointed "a committee of inspection" to see that "the 
above agreement be punctually complied with, and also to inspect 
any importers of goods, &c, contrary to the agreement of the mer- 
chants." The proceedings of this meeting closed with the follow- 
ing characteristic vote. " Voted, that Edward Sheaffe, John 
Frothingham, and Nathaniel Frothingham, be a committee to see 
whether there be any sellers of tea that have been forgotten, and 
get them to sign, and report at the next general meeting ; and that 
they likewise put the above vote relative to the buyers and sellers 
of tea in the public prints ; and that they give a copy of it to the 
selectmen of Boston." * 

The opposition to the revenue acts, by enforcing the non-impor- 
tation policy, was so general this year, that, a letter written in May 
states, with the exception of one colony, " the spirit of liberty runs 
pure, clear, and uncontaminated through the vast continent of 
North America." The proceedings of this town were so vigorous, 
that, at a celebration by a number of " despisers of tyranny," in 
Boston, they elicited the following sentiment: " Charlestown, 
Roxbury, and all the towns who have nobly exerted themselves in 
the cause of freedom." 2 

1 At a town-meeting, July 5, it was voted to take up a contribution in 
the church for the poor widows of Marblehead ; £ 175, old tenor, were 

2 The Gazette of March 26, 1770, says : " Last Tuesday, Henry Lloyd 
Esq., set out on a journey to New York, Philadelphia and the southern 
colonies. And it was observed that that gentleman's whole apparel and 
horse furniture were of American manufacture. His clothes, linen, shoes, 
stockings, hoots, gloves, hat, even wig and wig call, were all manufactured 
and made up in New England. An example truly worthy of imitation." 



1771 to 1774. The contest in 1771. — Edward Sheaffe's Letter.— Mili- 
tary Parade. — Boston Letter. — Instructions to Representative. — 
Reply to Boston. — The Tea and East India Company. — Town Meet- 
ing. — Resolves. — Destruction of the Tea. — Petition for a Town 
Meeting. — Agreement of Tea Dealers. — Resolves. — Burning of Tea. 

The journals of 1770, the life-like mirrors of the times, abound 
with evidences of high political excitement, while those of 1771 1 
indicate a calm in the public mind. The non-importation policy 
had become void ; few praised the virtues of Labrador tea, while 
"choice bohea and souchong" were peaceably advertised and sold 
and used ; and even the talismanic numbers ninety-two and forty- 
five ceased to stir the popular heart. Hutchinson remarked of 
" this calm interval," that " commerce was never in a more flour- 
ishing state : " that the public debt was nominal and taxes were 
light; in a word, that " in no independent state in the world could 
the people have been more happy than they were in the govern- 
ment of the Massachusetts Bay." 2 He assured the ministry that 
every thing was quiet. It was however an ominous quiet. 
Patriots had firmly resolved to contend unto death for an abstraction ; 
and, in a year, the machinery of the American Revolution was in 
full operation, only to cease its motion when it had worked out its 
sublime result. 

In the spring Hutchinson became governor of Massachusetts, 

on which occasion Edward Sheaffe, of this town, a prominent 

patriot, whose name is often found on the Journals of the General 

Court, associated on the most important committees with Samuel 

Adams, Otis, and Hancock, addressed to him the following letter : 

Sir : The public office I hold in the government, but more especially 
the great regard I have for your Excellency's person and merit, would 

1 In 1771 the selectmen were Samuel Kent, William Conant, Nathan- 
iel Gorh am, Nehemiah Rand, David Wood, Nathaniel Frothingham, and 
Peter Tufts, Jr. Edward Sheaffe and Nathaniel Gorham were represent- 

2 Hutchinson's Hist. Mass,, Vol. III. p. 351. 


have made me (had health permitted) very gladly to have embraced the 
joyous occasion which offered yesterday, and personally to have paid my 
duty to your Excellency on your bein? proclaimed chief Governor of this 
Province. T therefore beg; leave in this way, heartily to congratulate you, 
upon the honor done by our most gracious Sovereign by this appointment. 
And as vou abound in every qualification, necessary for the discharge of so 
important a trust, I am confident you will make use of them, not only for 
the honor of your Royal Master, but also for the good and happiness of 
the people over whom he has placed you : and that you will use your 
interest, and influence, to restore and preserve to them their truly constitu- 
tional rights and liberties, which certainly must be as dear to you as to any 
in the province. And may this be the happy time, and your excellency the 
happy instrument, in bringing about that union and confidence between the 
mother State, and this as well as the other Colonies, which is so absolute- 
ly necessary for the well-being and prosperity of both countries. 
" I am, sir, your Excellency's most dutiful 

" and most obedient humble servant. 

"Edw'd Sheaffe. 1 
" Charlestown, March 16, 1771." 

In 1772 2 spirited appeals were made to arouse attention to mili- 
tary discipline, because, it was said, there were such vast warlike 
preparations making among the nations of Europe ! The call was 
promptly responded to by this town. The Boston Gazette of 
October 19, says: "We cannot but mention the performances of 
the militia of Charlestown the last Thursday, which were regular, 
spirited, and highly entertaining to a great concourse of people of 
all ranks from this and the neighboring towns. A fort was erected 
on an eminence in the common, defended by cannon, and mortars 
with mock bombs. Part of the militia representing an enemy's 
army, commanded by Lieut. Harris, was driven from the town by 
the English army, under the command of Capt. William Conant ; 
and after various engagements and skirmishes, driven to the redoubt 
or out-work of their fort, which being soon taken and their cannon 
turned against them, they were obliged at length to take shelter 
in the fort, which was also regularly attacked ; and after a long 
and vigorous defence, stormed and taken, the enemy first blowing 
up their magazine. There were a number dressed in the true In- 
dian taste, who exhibited the Indian art of war with great activity, 
and to the great diversion of the spectators. After taking the fort 

1 Mass. Archives. Mr. Sheaffe, then representative, died soon after, 
much lamented. 

2 fn 1772 the selectmen were, Nathaniel Gorham, David Wood, Na- 
thaniel Frothingham, Peter Tufts, Jr., Stephen Miller, John Stanton, and 
James Gardner. Nathaniel Gorham was representative. 



with great activity the Indians were brought to the town. The 
manual exercise, evolutions, marches, siege of the fort, &c, were 
performed to as great acceptance, perhaps, as any thing of the kind 
by our common militia, and were greatly to the honor both of 
officers and privates. There were more than one hundred and 
twenty men under arms and not the least accident happened, 
though between two and three barrels of powder were expended." 

A duty of three-pence a pound was continued on tea; and a 
new subject of discussion arose in the provision made for the pay- 
ment of the salaries of the governor and the judges, which were 
made dependent on the crown. Boston was the first town to 
sound the alarm, and its proceedings, at a meeting held November 
22, 1772, were of the highest moment. On motion of Samuel 
Adams, a committee of correspondence was created ; an elaborate 
report on the rights of the colonists as men, as christians, and as 
subjects, and on their violations, was accepted; and "a letter of 
correspondence to the other towns " was adopted. This letter 
called upon the towns to " stand firm as one man," to open " a free 
communication" of sentiment with Boston, and expressed a con- 
fidence, that regard to themselves, and the rising generation, would 
not suffer them " to doze, or sit supinely indifferent, on the brink 
of destruction, while the iron hand of oppression was daily tearing 
the choicest fruit from the fair tree of liberty." This was the be- 
ginning of that internal organization, by committees of correspond- 
ence, that spread through the towns and the colonies, and consti- 
tuted -the first stage of the American Revolution. 1 

A town-meeting, to respond to the action of Boston, was held 
on December 7, 1772. Richard Cary was moderator; and Isaac 
Foster, Seth Sweetser, Richard Cary, Richard Devens, and Isaac 
Foster, Jr., were appointed a committee to prepare instructions to 
the representative, and to consider the Boston Letter. At the ad- 
journment, December 28, the following document, after being 
" read again and again," was adopted : — 

" To Mr. Nathaniel Gorham, one of the Honorable House of Repre- 
sentatives in this Province : 

"Sir — Being chosen by us, the freeholders and other inhabitants of 
the town of Charlestown, to the important trust of a Representative, we 

1 The Boston Proceedings on this memorable occasion make a pamphlet 
of forty-three pages. It is worthy of remark that the meeting was thinly 


rely on your paying- proper attention to our advice and instructions, when- 
ever we ihiuk fit to offer such, as we judge conducive to the public good, 
which we now do, not from any diffidence of your ability or distrust of 
your integrity, but that at this critical time, your hands may be strength- 
ened and your mind eased, by knowing the sentiments of your constituents. 

" It being reported, and we fear not without foundation, that salaries 
are annexed, by order of the Crown, to the officers of the Honorable Jus- 
tices of the Superior Court in this Province, whereby they are made en- 
tirely independent of any grant from our great and General Court. This 
step (if really taken) requires the attention of every person subject to their 
jurisdiction, who hath life or property depending, and is an innovation of 
most dangerous consequence. As nothing can be of more importance to 
the happiness of any people, than the absolute independence of those who 
are to pass finally on their lives and properties, so nothing can make our 
Honorable Justices of the Superior Court more absolutely dependent, than 
their receiving their salaries at the sole will of that power, with whose 
substitute their commissions originate, and without whose consent they 
cannot be dismissed, be their administration ever so glaringly corrupt ; — 
which has a tendency to check the true spirit of liberty in this Province — 
to prevent a free inquiry into the violations of our excellent constitution, 
which have been and we fear may still be made — manifestly calculated 
to bribe such judges as may be capable of being bribed — secure their de- 
cision in favor of a corrupt administration, or by withholding the salaries, 
cause them to resign, and their places filled with such persons as will an- 
swer their purpose. In order to prevent these, and other dangerous ef- 
fects, which may follow from the absolute dependence of the judges upon 
the crown for their support, we advise and instruct you, to exert yourself 
that the salaries of the Honorable Justices of the Superior Court, be raised, 
so as to be adequate to their important stations and services, and as inde- 
pendent of both prince and people as possible. 

" We would not be understood, that the foregoing is the only grievance 
we have to complain of. There are many more that might be pointed out. 
At present we shall mention only these. The first and greatest grievance, 
and indeed the foundation of almost all the rest, is the raising a revenue, 
by an Act of the British Parliament, from the Colonies, without their con- 
sent, and applying it contrary to their approbation. To possess the fruits 
of his labor in security, is the greatest happiness man can enjoy ; to be 
deprived of them against his consent, the greatest oppression ; but to see 
them applied towards supporting, in indolence and luxury, persons inimical 
to our constitution, is such insult, joined to oppression, as may well justify 
all our complaints. 

" The extension of the jurisdiction of the Courts of Vice-Admiralty is 
another grievance which we apprehend is of most dangerous consequence. 

"Great as these grievances are, our distress is increased by reflect- 
ing on an act, passed in the last session of the British Parliament, en- 
titled " an Act for the better preserving His Majesty's Dock-yards, 
Magazines, Ships, Ammunition and Stores ; " an act in the framing of 
which our legislature had no share, and which strikes at the greatest of 
blessings, personal security to the innocent ; — as it exposes the lives and 
fortunes of the most virtuous, to the low revenge of any who are vile 
enough to be guilty of perjury, or so abandoned as to sacrifice an honest 
man to secure the favor of some powerful patron; which we have the 
greater reason to fear, as by this act the accused may be removed for trial, 
to any county in England, where he, by being a stranger, loses that benefit 
which, would, arise from his good reputation was the trial by a jury of the 


vicinity. One of the justest complaints against the Inquisitorial Court in 
Romish countries, is the apprehending persons suddenly upon suspicion, 
and conveying them to places where they can have no assistance from their 
friends in making their defence. And in our opinion, nothing in any Pro- 
testant country approaches nearer to an inquisition, than the powers 
granted in the late act. 

" Since this is our alarming situation, and every thing dear to us as men, 
and British subjects, is held in trembling suspense ; since the fate of unborn 
millions may be depending; it is our special advice and instruction to you, 
at this time of danger and distress, that you exert your utmost endeavors 
in every constitutional way, in the General Court, to procure a speedy re- 
dess of all our grievances, and a restoration of that happy harmony, which 
lately subsisted between Great Britain and her Colonies. 

" But above all, we advise and caution you against giving your consent 
to any measure which may seem like recognising the power assumed by 
the British Parliament ; or in the least preclude us or our posterity from 
asserting our rights as men and British subjects. 

" We wish you success in your endeavors, and w.e cannot but flatter 
ourselves (from the late happy change in the American Department) you 
will meet with." 

No reply to the Boston Letter was reported, and Seth Sweetser, 
Nathaniel Gorham and Richard Devens, were appointed a com- 
mittee to prepare one, and " present it to the town at eight 
o'clock; " at which time the following Letter was adopted : — 

" Charlestown, Dec. 28, 1772. 
" To the Committee of Correspondence of the town of Boston : 

"Gentlemen: — The selectmen of this town, at a meeting legally 
assembled the 7th of this inst., Dec, communicated a letter which they 
have received from you by order of your town. 

" We desire you, gentlemen, to acquaint the inhabitants of the town of 
Boston, at their meeting, that, viewing ourselves equally interested with 
them in the common cause of natural and constitutional liberty, do return 
them our thanks for the vigilance and activity so often exerted by them, 
for the general safety. That the aforesaid letter with the annexed pam- 
phlet, containing their sentiments upon matters of general concernment, 
has been considered by us, and that it gives us pleasure to receive the 
thoughts of our brethren, upon the situation of public affairs at this alarm- 
ing season. We agree with them, that our rights are in many instances 
broken in upon and invaded, and that it is our desire and intention to co- 
operate with our brethren in every part of the province, in all proper and 
legal measures, for the recovery of such as are wrested from us, and for 
the security of such as we still enjoy, sincerely hoping, that the all-wise 
God will direct to such measures as shall be effectual for that purpose. 

" Seth Sweetser, Town Clerk." 1 

This letter was acknowledged by the Boston Committee of Cor- 
respondence in the following manner : 

"Boston, January 1, 1773. 

" Gentlemen : — We have received your obliging letter of the 28th of 
December last, and shall, according to your desire communicate the same 

i These two documents were printed in the Boston Gazette of Jan. 4, 1773. 


to this town at their next meeting. Tt must give them pleasure to be 
assured that the respectable town of Charlestown, who so justly consider 
themselves equally interested with us in the common cause of natural and 
constitutional liberty, have manifested their full approbation of the proceed- 
ings of this town at this alarming period. 

" Should the sentiments of this whole people be expressed relative to 
the dangerous dependency of Governor, Judges, &c, upon the Crown for 
their salaries to be paid out of taxes raised without the consent of the people 
who pay them, and the extension of the jurisdiction of Admiralty Courts, 
much good must grow out of it — perhaps the deliverance of this great 
continent from slavery. 

" The change in the American Department may have at first been flat- 
tering to us, but when we take into consideration, the late extract of a let- 
ter from the Earl of Dartmouth to the Governor of Rhode Island, requiring 
the execution of a commission so abhorrent from the principles of every 
free government, our expectations from the change must be totally annihi- 

" Who would submit to a power, that for crimes, real or suggested, 
committed in the body of a county, should arrest men, and free men, and 
force them from their friends and connections within the vicinity, and from 
the jurisdiction to which they of right belong, to a distant country for trial ! 
" We are with great regards to the town of Charlestown, 
" Gentlemen, your most humble servants. 
" Signed by direction of the Committee for Correspondence in Boston. 

"William Cooper, Clerk. 

" To Mr. Seth Sweetser, Town Clerk, to be communicated to the town 
of Charlestown." 

In 1773 the earliest Revolutionary action of the town was on 
June 7, in town-meeting. A letter was received from Boston, 
transmitting an account of the proceedings of the House of Bur- 
gesses of Virginia in March, when a committee of correspondence 
was chosen. The letter congratulated the town " upon the acqui- 
sition of such respectable aid as the ancient and patriotic province 
of Virginia, the earliest resolvers against the detestable Stamp 
Act." These documents were ordered to be recorded. 1 This 

1 The Boston Journals this spring, acknowledge the aid which citi- 
zens of this town rendered at large fires in Boston. The Gazette of March 
1, 1773, says; " We are desired to mention, that the inhabitants of this 
town gratefully acknowledge the kind assistance afforded them in the 
times of fire by the inhabitants of Charlestown, particularly in this last, by 
being so early over with their engines, &c, and for their activity during 
the whole time of the fire ; and assisting those that were in distress until 
the danger was entirely over." 

The Massachusetts Spy of April 8, 1773, in giving the details of a fire 
in Boston, which broke out. on the 4th, in a building belonging to Alexan- 
der Edwards, and destroyed the " Sandemanian meeting-house," says : 
" The engine from Charlestown, esteemed the best in America, with a 
number of people from that town, with their usual activity, came over very 
expeditiously to assist at the fire, and were very serviceable." 


action shows the importance which the far-seeing statesmen of the 
time attached to an extension of the plan of committees of corres- 

The British government were determined to assert the right to 
tax the Colonies, and the East India Company were desirous of 
providing a market for the immense quantity of tea in their ware- 
houses ; and therefore a compromise, with respect to the duty, 
was agreed to by these parties, that promised to secure a profit to 
the Company and a revenue to the ministry. In August, the Com- 
pany were authorized to export their tea, free of duty in England, 
to all places whatsoever ; which left them liable to pay the three- 
pence duty in the Colonies. Cargoes were soon on their way to 
the various ports of the latter. 

This was the crisis of the Revolution, and it was met boldly, 
regardless of consequences. On the 28th of November the ship 
Dartmouth, with some of the tea on board, arrived in Boston ; and 
until December 16, the period was one of intense anxiety. Though 
citizens of Charlestown thronged to the great meetings * in Boston, 
where Samuel Adams, Hancock, and Quincy, were the leading 
spirits, and their committee was in frequent council at Fanueil Hall 
on the momentous question, and a few of them aided in destroy- 
ing the tea, yet a detail of these interesting proceedings belongs 
more properly to a history of Boston. It was the time, if ever, for 
other towns to manifest courage, firmness, and a determination to 
stand by the metropolis. 

On the 24th of November a large number of citizens, "being 
afresh alarmed with report of a large quantity of tea soon to 
be imported into this Province by the East India Company," pe- 
titioned for a meeting to see whether the town would " choose 
a committee of correspondence " to consult with other commit- 
tees in reference to the adoption of proper measures under the 
" critical and distressing circumstances." The meeting was held 
on the 27th, Captain Isaac Foster was moderator, and it was unani- 
mously voted to choose a committee of correspondence. The fol- 

1 Hutchinson, who is long and minute on this period, remarks of one of 
these meetings: " A more determined spirit was conspicuous hi this body 
than in any of the former assemblies of the people." " The form" of a 
town-meeting- was assumed, the selectmen of Boston, town-clerk, &c, 
taking their usual places ; but the inhabitants of any other towns being 
admitted, it could not assume the name of a " legal meeting of any town." 

***\ 5 sua i Kk 
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I 1 

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lowing were elected " by written votes; " Isaac Foster, Peter Edes, 
John Frothingham, Richard Devens, David Cheever, Nathaniel 
Frothingham, John Codtnan, Isaac Foster, Jr., and William Wyar ; 
who were instructed to report the proper measures to be adopted 
at an adjournment of the meeting. 1 On the first of December the 
town again met, but the committee were not prepared to report. 
On the 4th, twelve days before the tea was destroyed, the commit- 
tee presented to the town, the following preamble and resolves, 
" which were read over and over again, and unanimously accept- 
ed," and ordered to be made public. 

" When we, His Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the inhabit- 
ants of this town, reflect on the glorious attachment of our ancestors to 
liberty ; an attachment so strong as to induce them (during the tyranny of 
the Stuarts) to quit their native homes and seek for freedom in the howling 
wilderness of America. When we consider that this once inhospitable 
desert, has by their labor and at the expense of their blood and treasure 
been brought to its present flourishing situation. When we contemplate 
our strong attachment to the person and family of our most gracious Sov- 
ereign, and recollect that harmony and mutual affection which lately sub- 
sisted between our parent State and the Colonies, the restoration of which 
we most ardently wish ; we cannot but have our minds most deeply 
affected, and our fears greatly alarmed at the encroachments on our rights 
and privileges, by the British administration's raising a revenue from 
Americans without their consent; and it adds to our mortification to see 
the money thus raised u nder the specious pretence of supporting government, 
applied not only in supporting pensioners and placemen in independency, 
whose talents are from mercenary views employed by false representations 
in making the most unhappy difference between the mother country and 
her Colonies, but also in maintaining in idleness and luxury an infamous set 
of spies, pimps, informers, &c, with many of whom the sole qualification is 
a total unfitness for any honest calling. Our alarms are increased by the East 
India Company in Great Britain, sending their tea for sale here while sub- 

l The following 
Isaac Foster. 
Samuel Henley. 
John Austin. 
Eleazer Dows. 
Nathan Adams. 
David Wait. 
Nathaniel Austin. 
Richard Cary. 
John Codman. 
Isaac Foster, Jr. 
Caleb Call. 
Richard Devens. 
John Larkin. 
Battry Powers. 
Eben'r Breed. 

were the petitioners for this 
Jonathan Bradish. 
David Wood, Jr. 
Stephen Gorham. 
Samuel Austin. 
Thomas Larkin. 
William Goodwin. 
Eleazer Larkin. 
John Frothingham. 
Peter Edes. 
John Austin, Jr. 
Nehemiah Norcross. 
Thomas Rand, 2d. 
Benjamin Wood. 
Isaiah Edes. 
Richard Boylston. 

meeting : 

Henry P. Sweetser. 
Joseph Austin. 
Samuel Swan. 
William Ford. 
Thomas Wood. 
Josiah Harris. 
Josiah Harris, Jr. 
Joseph Hopkins. 
Samuel Conant. 
Samuel Larkin. 
Benj. Bunker. 
John Larkin. 
John Stevens. 
John Harris. 


ject to a duty — a measure evidently tending to facilitate the destructive 
designs of administration upon us : and two ships with said tea being 
arrived, we think it our duty, to take every proper step to prevent the im- 
pending ruin, and do therefore pass the following resolves. 

" 1. Resolved, That it is one of the natural rights of man to dispose 
of the fruits of his honest industry himself. 

"2. Resolved, That every British subject in special in whatever part 
of the extensive British Empire he is settled, has eminently by our happy 
constitution, as well as by nature, the sole right to dispose of his property 
either by himself or his representative. 

" 3. Resolved, That some violent attacks have been made by adminis- 
tration on the rights and privileges of British subjects in the Colonies. 
That the retaining the duty on the tea for the express purpose of raising 
a revenue in America, and empowering the East India Company to send 
their tea here for sale whilst subject to said duty, is a striking instance of 
their determination to persevere in these attacks, and thereby reduce us to 
the most abject state of wretchedness and slavery. 

" 4. Resolved, That whoever shall be directly or indirectly concerned 
in landing, receiving, buying or selling said tea, or importing any tea from 
Great Britain while subject to duty, is an enemy to America and ought to 
be treated accordingly. 

" 5. Resolved, That we highly approve the wise, vigilant, and steady 
conduct of our brethren, the inhabitants of Boston, at this alarming crisis, 
and beg their acceptance of our most cordial thanks for the same. 

" 6. Resolved, That we will be ready on all proper occasions, in con- 
junction with our oppressed American brethren, to risk our lives and for- 
tunes in support of those rights, liberties, and privileges, with which God, 
nature, and our happy constitution have made us free." 

The adjournments of the meeting, the solemn character of the 
resolves, indicate that the citizens felt the importance of the occa- 
sion. The committees of correspondence could not succeed in 
sending the tea back, and were determined that it should not be 
landed; a party disguised as Indians, on December 10, emptied it 
into the dock, — three hundred and forty-two chests. " This," 
Hutchinson, then the governor, remarked in his History, " was the 
boldest stroke which had yet been struck in America." The 
patriots, far and near, received the news with every demonstration 
of joy. 1 Tea imported by private persons afterwards shared the 
same fate. The Boston Gazette of March 14, relates in the follow- 
ing manner the clearance of a quantity : — 

" His Majesty, Oknookortunkogog, King of the Narragansett tribe of 
Indians, on receiving information of the -arrival of another cargo of that 

l A letter, dated Philadelphia, Dec. 28, 1773, says: "The news of 
destroying the tea at Boston was received here on Tuesday last with the 
ringing of bells, and every sign of joy and universal approbation; and at 
our meeting yesterday, it was proposed for the sentiments of our people, 
who voted it the most perfect approbation, with universal claps and 


cursed weed tea, immediately summoned his council at the Great Swamp 
by the river Jordan, who did advise and consent to the immediate destruc- 
tion thereof, after resolving- that the importation of this herb, by any 
persons whatever, was attended with pernicious and dangerous consequen- 
ces to the lives and properties of all his subjects throughout America. 
Orders were then issued to the seizer and destroyer-general, and their 
deputies, to assemble the executive body under their command, to proceed 
directly to the place where this noxious herb was. They arrived last 
Monday evening- in town, and rinding the vessel, they emptied every chest 
into the great Pacific ocean, and effectually destroyed the whole (twenty 
eight chests and an half.) They are now returning to Narragansett to 
make report of their doings to his Majesty, who we hear is determined to 
honor them with commissions for the peace." 

It was while these great events were transpiring, on the 22d of 
December, that the following petition was presented to the select- 
men : — 

" Charlestown, Dec. 22, 1773. 
" To the selectmen of the town of Charlestown. 

" Gentlemen : The truly respectable body assembled in Boston last 
week, having resolved that the use of tea is improper and pernicious : 
and recommended to every town in this province, the appointment of 
committees of inspection, to prevent this detested tea from coming into 
any of our towns. We the subscribers, duly attentive to their advice, 
and not willing- to be the last in this glorious struggle for American Liberty, 
beg you would call the town together as soon as possible, that some mea- 
sures may be taken, effectually to prevent the consumption of an article, 
equally destructive to our natural and political constitutions. 

Josiah Harris. Samuel Larldn. Caleb Call. 

Peter Edes. John Harris. John Laikin. 

James Bradish. Joseph Hopkins. William Leathers, Jr. 

John Codman. John Austin. Nathan Adams. 

John Frothingham. Ebenezer Breed. Benjamin Hurd. 

David Cheever. Richard Devens. David Wait. 

Louis Foyes. Jno. Stevens. William Wyer." 

Battry Powers. Nathaniel Austin. 

Isaac Foster, Jr. Isaac Foster. 

Three days afterwards, December 25, the dealers in tea entered 
into the following agreement : — 

Charlestown, Dec. 25, 1773. 

" We, the dealers in and sellers of tea in this town, taking into our con- 
sideration the present alarming designs and attacks upon our rights and 
privileges, and considering how essentially the said designs may be car- 
ried into execution by the sale of tea, while subject as it now is to an 
American duty by the authority of the British Parliament : Have, upon 
mature deliberation, unanimously resolved and agreed, that .we will not 
after this day, directly or indirectly, by ourselves or any for or under us, 
buy or sell or suffer to be used in our families any tea, until the duty is 

" And whereas some of us may have more tea on hand than others, in 
order that the loss may fall equally, voted, That the same be bought at 
the joint expense of this Company and destroyed. 


" Also voted, That three of the gentlemen present be a committee to 
inform some of the principal tea sellers in Boston and Medford of these 
resolutions, and desire their influence, that similar measures may he taken 
by the dealers in this article in their respective towns." 1 

A town meeting was held on the 28th of December, Captain 
Isaac Foster, moderator. The Records state that the meeting was 
very full, and that the following resolves were unanimously passed : 

"1. Considering- the advantages that will result to this community (in 
every point of light) from the disuse of India tea, we will not by ourselves, 
or any from or under us, buy or sell, or surfer to be used in our families, 
any such tea till the British act of Parliament, imposing a duty on the 
same, shall be repealed. 

" 2. That a committee be chosen to collect from all the inhabitants of 
this town, all the tea they may have by them, and that such persons as 
shall deliver up the same to said committee be paid by the town the price 
it cost them. And that the tea so collected, be destroyed by fire on Fri- 
day next, at noon-day in the market-place. 

" 3. That Messrs. Isaiah Edes, Samuel Conant, Caleb Call, Benjamin 
Hurd, Samuel Wait, Battry Powers, and David Wood, Jr. be the com- 
mittee for the purpose above mentioned. 

" 4. That the above named persons be a committee of inspection to see 
that all the foregoing votes be fully complied with. 

" 5. That if any of the inhabitants of this town shall do any thing to 
counteract or render ineffectual the foregoing votes, they are not only in- 
imical to the liberty of America in general, but also show a daring disre- 
spect to this town in particular. 

" 6. That the committee of correspondence for this town confer with 
the committee of correspondence for the town of Boston, and desire their 
influence, that similar measures may be taken in their town. 

" 7. That the above proceedings be published in the newspapers." 

The resolves of the town were carried into effect. The Boston 
Gazette of January 3, 1774, stated, that " The inhabitants of 
Charlestown, agreeably to an unanimous vote of said town the 
Tuesday preceding, on Friday last voluntarily brought all their 
tea into the public market-square, where it was committed to the 
flames, at high noon-day, an example well worthy of imitation." 
On the 20th the Committee presented the following report of 
their doings to the selectmen : — 

" Charlestown, Jan. 20, 1774. 
" Gentlemen : — This is to signify to you that the committee chosen 
by the town to collect the tea, have received from the several persons under- 
named the several quantities, and at the several prices set against their 
respective names, and have burnt the same agreeable to the vote of the 
town, viz. : from 

Abigail Stevens, 1 1-2 a 4s. per lb. £0. 6. 0. 

John Stevens, 1 3-4 a 4s. 4d. " 0. 7. 7. 

1 Boston Gazette, Dec. 27. 



Samuel Rand, 

1-4 a 5s. 4d. 

per lb. 


1. 4. 

James Bradish, Jr., 

6 oz. a 6s. 



2. 3. 

William Conant, 

4 1-2 a 5s. 2d. 



3. 3. 

John Odin, 

3 3-4 a 5s. 4d. 



17. 4. 

Mrs. Paine, 

3-4 a 5s. 4d. 



9. 4. 

James Hill, 

1 3-4 a 5s. 4d. 



9. 4. 

John Smith, 

7 3-4 a 5s. 4d. 



1. 4. 

David Wait, 

2-4 a 5s. 4d. 



2. 8. 

Daniel Manning, 

1-4 a 6s. 



1. 6. 

Isaiah Edes, 

3 a 5s. 4d. 



16. 0. 

To paying the crier, 
" Tn behalf of the committee, 

£ 6. 12. 7. 
0. 2. 0. 

£ 6. 14. 7. 

Isaiah Edes. 

" To the selectmen of the town of Charlestown." 

Tea was burned, this month, in other towns with parade. In 
Newburyport a party of both sexes, assembled on town-hill for this 
purpose, at which, the journals stated, the ladies took as much 
pleasure in feeding the patriotic bonfire " as they would in sipping 
so baneful a commodity ; " and some was burned in King-street, 
Boston, " amidst the loud acclamations of a vast concourse of 
people." The patriotic Paul Revere, in one of his engravings, 
here slightly altered, exhibited the spirit of the times. 



1774 to 1775. The Contest in 1774. — Boston Port Bill, — its effect on 
Charlestown. — Resolve of the General Court. — Donations. — Com- 
mittee of Correspondence. — Letter to Falmouth. — Town Meeting. — 
Letter to Boston. — Removal of the Powder. — The People at Cam- 
bridge. — Alarm of the Country. — Submissions. — Removing the 
Guns. — Letter to Sharon and Salisbury. — Resolves of Provincial 
Congress. — Reading Contribution. — Committee on Donations. — 
Town Meetings. — Close of Corporate Action. 

In 1774 the contest came to a crisis. The British ministry, 
exasperated by the failure of their plans, levelled severe measures 
against Boston and Massachusetts. But their cause became a 
common cause, and the journals were filled with the. patriotic re- 
solves of the towns, and after town-meetings were prohibited, of 
the counties, in support of Boston. A General Congress convened 
on the 4th of September ; a Provincial Congress on the 7th of 
October. Before the close of this memorable year the authority 
of the established officers and of the courts, ceased ; public opinion 
became the governing law ; and under an organization ordained 
by the people, the necessary work commenced of securing ammu- 
nition, collecting stores and regulating the militia. " Our hemis- 
phere threatens a hurricane ; " wrote a royal governor. 

The Boston Port Bill, the punishment parliamentary wisdom 
devised for the destruction of the tea, went into operation on the 
first day of June, at twelve o'clock, though vessels in port were 
allowed fourteen days to depart. This measure, enforced by a 
fleet and an army, not only cut off the foreign trade of Boston, but 
prohibited all water carriage to it. No goods could be taken over 
the Ferry without liability to seizure. In the regulating acts of 
this period, was a clause prohibiting town-meetings, after the first 
day of August, without permission obtained from the Governor or 
Lieutenant Governor, except the annual ones for the choice of 

Charlestown, then of great commercial importance, was inti- 
mately connected, in business, with Boston; and hence this high- 


handed measure bore with equal severity upon the two towns. Here 
rents declined ; the stores were closed ; trade was suspended ; the 
laborer was deprived of employment and the poor of bread ; gloom 
and distress pervaded the community. 

The ministers expected this measure would intimidate and di- 
vide the Colonists, — it called forth the widest sympathy and pro- 
duced a closer union. The day the Bill took effect was observed 
as one of mourning; public buildings were hung with emblems of 
distress ; muffled bells tolled from morning to night ; and there 
were fasting and prayer. 1 Then poured into Boston, from all parts 
of the country, tokens of sympathy, assurances of support, and 
exhortations to firmness. The General Court, convened at Salem, 
published severe resolutions against the Governor in the journals 
of June 13; and on the 17th the Governor sent by his secretary, 
a proclamation to dissolve it. The door of the chamber of the 
House of Representatives was found shut. While the galleries 
were cleared and the door locked, and the secretary, perhaps, was 
pronouncing on the stairs, the legal dissolution of royal govern- 
ment in Massachusetts, the following preamble and resolve were 
passed : — 

" Whereas the towns of Boston and Charlestown are at this time suffer- 
ing under the hand of power, by the shutting up the Harbor by an armed 
force, which in the opinion of this House is an invasion of the said towns, 
evidently designed to compel the inhabitants thereof to a submission to 
taxes imposed upon them without their consent : and whereas it appears 
to this House that this attack upon the said towns for the purpose afore- 
said, is an attack made upon this whole Province and Continent, which 
threatens the total destruction of the liberties of all British America: 

" It is therefore resolved, as the clear opinion of this House, that the 
inhabitants of the said towns ought to be relieved; and this House do 
recommend to all, and more especially the inhabitants of this Province, to 
afford them speedy and constant relief in such way and manner as shall be 
most suitable to their circumstances, till the sense and advice of our sister 
Colonies shall be known : In full confidence that they will exhibit exam- 
ples of patience, fortitude and perseverance, while they are thus called to 
endure this oppression, for the preservation of the liberties of their 

The response to this call was noble. The flood-gates of a 
patriotic charity were wide opened. The most generous dona- 

1 In Hartford, June 1, " The bells began to toll early in the morning 
and continued until evening; the town-house was hung with black, and 
the edict affixed thereto; the shops were all shut, and their windows cov- 
ered with black and other ensigns of distress." — Boston Gazette. 


tions, consisting of supplies of every description, poured into Bos- 
ton, coming even from Canada, from Carolina and beyond the 
mountains of Virginia. They were accompanied with letters and 
resolves speaking the firmest language. " Unanimity must be the 
great leading star ; " one said from Carolina. So prompt was the 
action, that the Boston Gazette, July 18, 1774, stated, that "A 
whole continent is now awake and active ; one spirit animates the 
whole; and all unite in prayers to the Supreme Disposer of events 
that the liberties of America may yet be preserved." 

At this period the Committee of Correspondence of this town 
were in frequent consultation with other similar committees in the 
neighborhood, and in correspondence with other towns. There 
are extant letters to and from Woburn, Lincoln, Sharon and Salis- 
bury, Falmouth, Boston and Cambridge. Some of these letters 
exhibit, in so marked a degree, the firmness of the town and the 
spirit of the times, as to demand insertion. 

A letter from Falmouth, dated July 1, 1774, stated that its citi- 
zens proposed to adopt there " the non-importation covenant form- 
ed at Worcester;" that the town had a meeting, and "after 
serious consideration and debate, voted to write to the towns 
of " Boston, Charlestown, Newburyport, Marblehead, Gloucester 
and Salem," " to know their minds" about it; and that " they 
very generally approved of the Worcester Plan," yet think they 
" should be too forward if they should adopt it before hearing from 
the above named towns." It was signed " Samuel Freeman, 
Clerk." - 

The committee, in replying to this letter, stated, that all their 
dependence, under God, was upon a firm union of the Colo- 
nies, and recommended a suspension of action until the result of 
a Continental Congress was known. This letter is as follows : 

"Charlestown, July 9, 1774. 
" Gentlemen : — Your favor of the first instant has been received and 
duly attended to by us. In order to furnish you with the best information 
in our power that the time would admit of, respecting the disposition of 
the inhabitants of this town upon the present alarming situation of our 
public affairs, we desired and obtained an immediate interview with the 
selectmen upon the subject matter of your letter, and have the pleasure to 
inform you, that our opinion is confirmed by theirs, that the people of this 
town have a firm attachment to their rights and liberties, and with indig- 
nation and abhorrence view the many infringements made and making upon 
them, and are disposed to take every measure in their power for the re- 
covery of those which have been wrested from us, and for the support 


and preservation of those we still enjoy. The covenant you refer to in 
your letter, we have also received ; and in answer to your request we 
would inform you, thatitis,in the opinion of the selectmen and ourselves, 
the general sense of this town, that all our dependence under God is upon a 
firm union of the colonies ; and viewing themselves as they have heen viewed 
by the late honorable House of Representatives, in the same situation 
with the town of Boston, it has been thought that patient, silent suffering 
on their part, while they relied on the divine blessing, and the active zeal 
of their pitying brethren in all the other towns, was most for the public 
good. They therefore think it expedient for them to suspend any mea- 
sure respecting the covenant, until the result of the general continental 
congress shall be known, which result, we have no doubt, will be very 
generally adopted here. It is with pleasure we embrace this opportunity 
of corresponding with you. And wishing the constant attendance of the 
divine blessing upon your and all our endeavors for the public safety, 
" We are with much respect, 

your most obedient humble servants. 
"In the name and by the order of the Committee of Correspondence. 

Isaac Foster, junior Clerk." 
" To the Committee of Correspondence for the town of Falmouth." 

At a town-meeting, July 30, it was voted that the selectmen, 
the overseers of the poor, and the committee of correspondence, 
be a committee to confer with the town of Boston relative to this 
town's proportion of the donations : or as the warrant expresses it, 
"to receive the proportion of the generous and charitable dona- 
tions that have been or may be made, by our compassionate neigh- 
bors in this and the other American Governments, to relieve the 
poor in Boston and this town under their distressing circumstan- 
ces." The same committee were instructed to report " upon the 
proper ways and means " to dispose of the donations. A letter 
from the town of Boston was read and ordered to be recorded ; 
and the committee of correspondence were instructed to confer 
with the same committee of Boston respecting the subject matter 
of it, and report at the adjournment. 

This circular letter, of the inhabitants of Boston, was dated 
July 26. It alluded to their previous efforts to warn their 
brethren " of approaching danger;" to the recent parliamentary 
measures ; to their situation while suffering " a double weight of 
oppression," and concluded in the following words: "to you we 
look for that wisdom, advice, and example, which giving strength 
to our understanding and vigor to our actions, shall with the 
blessing of God, save us from destruction. Looking up to Heaven, 
and under Divine direction, to our brethren in the country and 
on the continent for aid and support, and with earnest prayer for a 
happy issue out of our great troubles, we are your friends and 


brethren." This is a remarkable letter, full of solemn eloquence, 
and well suited to the time. At an adjournment of the town 
meeting, August 8, Nathaniel Gorham, Seth Sweetser, and Isaac 
Foster, Jr. were appointed a committee to prepare an answer to it. 
This committee, on the 12th, reported the following draft, which 
was read "three several times" and adopted: — 

" Friends, Brethren, and Fellow-Sufferers: — Your letter of the 
26th of July past, has been received and read in a legal town-meeting, 
and ordered to be recorded. 

" We are sensibly affected by the increase of our public calamities, and 
condole with you that those persons who are attempting to sacrifice the 
rights and liberties of America, to the gratification of their own pride, 
avarice and malice, have had art and weight enough to turn the course of 
ministerial vengeance, more immediately upon you : but at the same time 
we think it happy for America, that you are placed in the front rank of 
the conflict, and with gratitude acknowledge your vigilance, activity and 
firmness in the common cause ; which will be admired by generations yet 

" The acts of parliament you refer to, now arrived, and the baneful effects 
of which begin to appear, we view with the utmost indignation and ab- 
horrence, to prevent the operation of which, we think, ought to be the care 
of every honest and good man. 

" The conduct of our late worthy and honorable House of Represen- 
tatives relative to our Superior Court Judges, their impeachment of the 
Hon. Peter Oliver, Esq., for his accepting a salary from the crown, as 
chief justice of this province, and the uniform spirited conduct of the 
several grand jurors through the province on this occasion, we highly ap- 

" A most alarming crisis in our public affairs is at hand, and most ear- 
nestly we pray the Author and Giver of every good and perfect gift, to 
endue you with that wisdom which is profitable to direct to such measures 
as may be most for His glory and the lasting happiness of us and our 

" The military forces encamped in your town we conceive to be most 
dangerous to all our rights and liberties, but rely much on your cool, mod- 
erate, and undaunted behaviour in this difficult situation. Be prudent, 
but determined, resolute, asserters of the rights of mankind in general, 
and of the charter-rights of this province in particular. Persevere in the 
glorious cause of liberty you are engaged in. You may be sure of all 
the assistance we can give you. Let us all, as is our duty, unite in constant, 
fervent prayers to Almighty God, our father's God, who is wonderful in 
council and mighty in working, for his direction to take, and assistance 
in prosecuting such measures as have a tendency to extricate us out 
of our difficulties, and then we may humbly hope our endeavors will be 
crowned with success. 

" We are your friends and brethren, 

the inhabitants of the town of Charlestown. 
" By order of the town. Seth Sweetser, Town Clerk." 

At this meeting the committee laid before the town the proceed- 
ings of Boston relative to apportioning the donations. That town 
voted unanimously, that the poor of the " sister town of Charles- 


town," who were suffering under the operation of the Port Bill, 
w r as " equitably entitled to share in the donations," and further 
voted that the committee be directed to apply seven per cent, of 
the amount received, for this town. 

In July and August the political excitement rapidly increased, 
and the breach between the patriots and the loyalists, the whigs and 
the tories, daily became wider. The newspapers chronicle faith- 
fully the rising spirit. Multitudes, of both sexes, sign a solemn 
league and covenant against the use of British goods ; the country 
pours forth its patriotic donations; straw for the troops is burnt — 
boat loads of brick for Gage are sunk — mechanics refuse to build 
barracks; one, for years, had mowed his royalist neighbor's hay, — 
now "the honest man's scythe would not cut tory grass," and 
another's " oxen would not plough tory ground ;" able essays demon- 
strate that the King's authority has ceased, that the people are in a 
state of nature, and at liberty to incorporate themselves into an in- 
dependent State ; 1 good men in the metropolis " pant for the field 
in which the fate of their country is to be decided; " 2 and "the 
country people are firm, looking to the last extremity with spirit." 3 

Governor Gage, while the public mind was in this state of ex- 
citement, ordered his grenadiers to disperse a town-meeting at 
Salem, and the civil officers to arrest the committee who called 
it. On the first day of September His Excellency unconsciously 
summoned a public meeting which he did not think expedient 
to order his troops to dissolve. 

It was customary to store in the powder-house on Q/uarry Hill, 
in this town, (now Somerville) the powder belonging to the towns 
and the Province. On the 23d of July the selectmen of this 
town authorized two of its board, Nathaniel Frothingham and 
Nehemiah Rand, to receive, and receipt for, this town's stock. 
Other towns did the same ; the last town which withdrew its stock, 
was Medford, on the 27th of Aug. This fact was communicated to 

1 Essex Gazette, and Boston Gazette of August 15. 

2 This language is uttered in a letter, signed by Joseph Warren, Sep- 
tember 1, in behalf of the Boston Committee of Donations. " There was 
a time when some good men among us were insensible of their danger, 
and seemed to prefer obscurity to action ; hut the late manoeuvres of 
tyranny have roused them from their lethargy, and they now pant for the 
field in which the fate of our country is to be decided." — MS. Letter. 

3 Boston Gazette, Aug. 15. 



Governor Gage, when he immediately resolved to transfer the 
balance of the powder, " the King's powder," to Castle William. 

On the 31st of August he ordered General Brattle, the military 
officer of this district, to deliver to Sheriff Phipps the powder and 
two field-pieces recently procured for the Cambridge regiment. 
This order was complied with. On Thursday morning, Sept. 1, 
about half past four, two hundred and sixty troops under the com- 
mand of Lieutenant Colonel Maddison, embarked at Long Wharf, 
Boston, in thirteen boats, sailed up Mystic river, landed at Tem- 
ple's farm (the Ten Hills), marched to the powder-house, and re- 
moved all the powder in it, two hundred and fifty half barrels, to 
Castle William. Meantime, a detachment from this corps went 
to Cambridge and carried away the two field-pieces. 

Intelligence of this transaction spread like wild-fire through 
Middlesex county ; and in the evening the people gathered in great 
numbers, provided with arms, ammunition and provisions, deter- 
mined to check, in some way, the power that was thus clandestinely 
depriving them of their defence, and openly menacing them with 
destruction. They took one night for deliberation. A few, how- 
ever, " mostly boys and negroes," went to Cambridge in the eve- 
ning, surrounded the Attorney General's house, and the Gazette 
stated, " being provoked by the firing of a gun from a window, 
they broke some glass, but did no more mischief." 

Early on Friday morning, a body of thousands of substantial 
citizens, leaving behind their arms and ammunition, and provided 
only with sticks, went to Cambridge Common. On seeing the con- 
course, the Cambridge Committee sent an express to the Committee 
of Charlestown, who notified that of Boston ; and the two Commit- 
tees promptly proceeded to Cambridge. When they arrived at the 
scene of action, Judge Danforth, who had accepted office under 
the Regulating Act, was addressing the body from the steps of 
the court-house. He expressed his great mortification to find a step 
taken by him, at his advanced age, so disagreeable to his county, 
and assured them that he had resigned his seat at the Council 
Board, and never again would accept any office inconsistent with 
the Charter rights of his country. He then delivered a written 
certificate to this effect. Judge Lee made similar statements 
and gave a similar resignation. These proceedings were voted 
satisfactory ; and " The Body " then declared, on motion, their 
abhorrence of mobs, and of the destruction of private property. 


Col. David Phipps, high sheriff of the county, then appeared 
before the Committee, and complained that people had spoken 
hardly of him for the part which he had acted in delivering the 
powder to the troops. The committee candidly considered his 
case, and reported to the people that he was excusable, as he had 
acted in conformity to orders from the Commander-in-chief. Col. 
Phipps then delivered to " The Honorable Body " a declaration 
that he would issue no more precepts under the Regulating Act, 
and would recall the Venires which he had sent out under it. 
This was also accepted as satisfactory to "The Body." 

Hon. Thomas Oliver, Lieutenant Governor and President of the 
Council, hesitated. He had been apprized, early in the morning, 
by Charlestown men, that a large body of people were on their 
way to Cambridge ; and when they came by his house he address- 
ed them and gave them advice. He was thanked for it, and 
assured that the Body were " no mob, but sober, orderly people." 
He next, by request, about eight o'clock, when there was a report 
that troops were marching to disperse the meeting, rode to Boston 
and held a conference with Governor Gage, — informing the latter 
that " the vast concourse was not a mad mob, but the freeholders 
of the county." He was assured by General Gage that no troops 
would be ordered out. On his return, he repeated what he had 
before stated, namely, " that as the commissions of Lieut. Govern- 
or and President of the Council, seemed tacked together, he should 
undoubtedly incur his Majesty's displeasure if he resigned the 
latter and pretended to hold the former." While he begged that 
he might not be pressed to incur that displeasure at the instance 
of a single county, he assured the committee, that in case the mind 
of the whole Province, expressed by a Congress or otherwise, ap- 
peared to be in favor of his resignation, he would by no means act 
in opposition to it. 

These assurances seemed satisfactory to the committee, who 
were preparing a report to this effect to deliver to the Body, when 
Commissioner Hallowell rode through the town on his way to Bos- 
ton. The sight of so obnoxious a person " so inflamed the people, 
that in a few minutes above one hundred and sixty horsemen were 
drawn up and proceeding in pursuit of him on the full gallop." 
Members of the committees as promptly followed the horsemen. 
" Captain Gardner of Cambridge first began a parley with one of 


the foremost, which caused them to hah till he delivered his mind 
very fully in dissuasion of the pursuit, and was seconded by Mr. 
Devens of Charlestown, and Dr. Young of Boston." Their argu- 
ment was, that the object of the Body's attention that day seemed 
to be the resignation of unconstitutional counsellors, and it might 
introduce confusion if other matters were " brought upon the 
carpet." " In a little time the gentlemen dismounted their horses 
and returned to the Body." Commissioner Hallowell, still pursued 
by one person, drove with all speed to Boston, went to the 
camp, and reported what he had seen. The camp was soon in 
motion. It was hence inferred, by patriots, that the troops were 
preparing to march to Cambridge. The alarm was given to Dr. 
Roberts, at Charlestown Ferry, who carried an express to Cam- 
bridge. The intelligence was instantly diffused ; the people col- 
lected their arms ; horsemen were despatched for more certain 
advice ; " a greater fervor or resolution probably never appeared 
among any troops." The report was soon contradicted, the Body 
became calm, and resumed with spirit the business of the day. x 

At this stage, in the after part of the day, an eye-witness has 
minutely described the scene. Two thousand persons were formed 
regularly in lines before Lieut. Gov. Oliver's house, and there were 
as many more bystanders. " There was no tumult but an awful 
stillness " among the people. The business was done by the com- 
mittee in the presence of the Body. Governor Oliver had with 
him a few friends and his family ; and still declined to accede 
to the -demands of the committee. " But a weighty spirit began 
to show itself by some gentlemen and officers nearest, pressing 
through the gate, into the Governor's yard with (the not as yet 
violence yet with) marks of earnestness and importunity, which 
the Governor and his friends saw was at length become irresist- 
ible." He delivered his resignation, — signed, he stated, in " com- 
pliance with the commands of about four thousand people," 
which was read along the lines, at proper distances, till all 
heard it; and, about sunset, the solemn silence was changed to 
general expressions of satisfaction, and the Body dissolved. 2 

But the alarm, occasioned by the removal of the powder, spread 

1 Boston Gazette Sept. 5, 1774, where this meeting is termed " the Body." 

2 Stiles's MSS., kindly loaned by Henry Stevens, Esq. The papers 
in Force's Tracts, of this dale, have been consulted. 


through the country. The bells were rung and beacon fires were 
kindled on the hills. It was reported to Col. Putnam, at Pom- 
fret, Connecticut, on the 3d of September, that when the powder 
was taken, six men were killed and many wounded ; that Boston 
was cannonaded, and the people were universally rallying to their 
relief. The Colonel sent a letter with such intelligence, by ex- 
press, to Philadelphia, and it had the effect to alarm nearly the 
whole Colony of Connecticut on Sunday. The letter was read 
in two-thirds of the congregations ; services were suspended ; men 
left the church for the camp ; ] and on that day, it was estimated 
twenty thousand men, from that one Colony were on their march 
to relieve Boston. 2 The roads were alive with " armed men 
rushing forward, some on foot, some on horseback ; at every 
house women and children were making cartridges, running 
bullets, making wallets, baking biscuit, crying and bemoaning, 
and at the same time animating their husbands and sons to 
fight for their liberties." 3 Six thousand men were on their way 
from the single county of Worcester 4 in this State ; and Dr. 
Stiles records in his Diary that, had not the report been con- 
tradicted, on the succeeding morning, thirty thousand men under 
arms, would have congregated at the point of danger. 

The Regulating Act at this period, was broken into fragments 
that could not be gathered up. Not an officer, from the Governor 
to a Justice, was allowed to act under it. Hon. Thaddeus Mason, 
of this town, a firm patriot, had been clerk of the county court 
thirty-eight years, and under the act, issued warrants to the con- 
stables to return jurors. On the 2d of September, he stated to 
the public the circumstances under which he issued them, and ac- 
knowledged his error " with much higher pleasure and satisfac- 
tion " than he felt " in signing the unconstitutional warrants ;" and 
he called upon his friends to bear witness that he had been " steady, 
uniform, and persevering" in his opposition to parliamentary su- 
premacy, and "utterly abjured, abhorred, and detested" the late 
cruel Acts. John White also, of this town, had signed the Address 
to Hutchinson on his departure, and in a document dated Sep- 

i Stiles's Diary. 2 History of Norwich. 

3 Stiles's Diary — from a person who passed through the towns to Boston. 

4 Lincoln's Worcester, p. 96. Governor Gage wrote to Lord Dartmouth 
Sept. 25, " The whole country was in arms and in motion." 


tember 3, asked forgiveness for his conduct. The journals con- 
tain many such documents at this period. * 

The removal of the powder by Governor Gage, suggested to the 
patriots of this town, the removal of the guns of the old battery 
to a place of safety. But this work was difficult of execution. A 
ship of war was lying off the fort, and the Lively in the ferry; and 
noise at the battery could be heard on board the vessel. The en- 
terprise was attempted by citizens of the town, and successfully 
executed in the night — those engaged in it, hearing on ship-board 
the cry of all's well, as they silently took away the guns. Some 
of them were secreted on school-house hill, under stable dirt. The 
British officers searched for them closely, an inhabitant stated 
in a petition — "peeping everywhere to find them out." "The 
gunner of the Lively" asked him if "he knew what were done 
with them ?" " I told him I thought he knew me better than to ask 
such a question, and begged from that time he never would come 
to my house." The search proved ineffectual, and the guns were 
used in the ensuing contest. General Gage asked, Sept. 12, the 
delegates of Suffolk county, " why were the guns removed privately 
in the night from the battery in Charlestown 1" The delegates, in 
reply, referred significantly to the seizure of the powder and the 
field-pieces, the orders for additional troops, and the disposition of 
the ships of war. 2 

At this time, about September 20, General Gage purchased 
of a Mr. Scott, a quantity of warlike stores; and wrote to the 
ministry, (Sept. 25,) that "Boston artificers had undertaken his 
work ; " namely, building barracks. The people were so incensed 
against Scott, that he was glad to escape with his life. Other omi- 
nous signs appeared, and on the 27th of September, the Boston 
Committee of Correspondence, Dr. Joseph Warren, President, sent 
to this town the following summons : — 

" Gentlemen: — Our enemies proceed with such rapidity, and execute 
their measures so successfully by the assistance of enemies in this and the 

i The Boston Gazette of Sept. 5, states, " on Saturday afternoon the 
Lively frigate of 20 guns, came to her moorings in the ferry way between 
Boston and Charlestown. 

2 After diligent inquiry, I have been able to ascertain the names of 
only three of the party who were engaged in this work — Timothy 
Thompson, William Calder, and William Lane. The latter, of Boston, 
states in a petition, that he had been helpful, " from the demolition of the 
Stamp Office, to the bringing off the cannon from Charlestown." 


neighboring towns, that we are constrained to request your presence and 
advice immediately. Matters of such extreme importance now claim 
your attention, that the least delay may prove fatal. We therefore en- 
treat your company at Fanueil Hall, at five o'clock this afternoon, with 
such committees in your neighborhood, as you can influence to attend on 
so short a notice. 

" We are your friends and fellow countrymen, 

"Nath'l Appleton, 
" per order of the Committee of Correspondence. 
" Boston, Tuesday, September 27, 1774. 
" The Committee of Correspondence of Charlestown." 

Among the proceedings of this session, consisting of the com- 
mittees of several of the towns, was a resolve against furnishing 
supplies to the troops. After a preamble, commencing, " whereas 
the inhabitants of the towns of Boston and Charlestown, by the ope- 
ration of the detested and oppressive Port Bill, are now suffering un- 
speakable distresses, arising from the entire prohibition of com- 
merce," the resolve declared all to be enemies to the country, who 
should furnish the troops " with labor, lumber, joist, spars, pickets, 
straw, bricks, or any materials whatsoever," which might furnish aid 
to annoy the inhabitants. It was also resolved to appoint com- 
mittees of observation in this and the neighboring towns. 

The towns of Sharon and Salisbury, Connecticut, in a joint let- 
ter of condolence and inquiry, addressed to Charlestown, and 
dated 22d September, 1774, asked, Whether the present necessi- 
ties of the town " were pressing, or whether their donations would 
not be more agreeable next spring ;" invited " a frequent correspon- 
dence relative " to public matters, and concluded as follows : " while 
we deeply commiserate your sufferings in the common calamity, we 
equally applaud and revere your virtuous obstinacy in a great cause, 
alike involving every individual in an extensive and populous con- 

The Committee in reply, assured their distant friends, that they 
would sooner abandon all their temporal interests, than by treach- 
ery or cowardice, betray the rights of all America ! The follow- 
ing is its letter : — 

" Charlestown, Oct. 5, 1774. 

" Gentlemen : Your kind favor of the 22d ult. was received by us with 
the most grateful sensations. Suffering as we are with our worthy breth- 
ren at Boston under the accumulated load of ministerial vengeance, noth- 
ing but the humane, the tender, sympathising pity and generous assistance 
of all the friends to American Liberty throughout this extensive continent 
could have supported us. Placed as we are by Providence in the front 
rank of this glorious contest we do not repine. Eveu when uncertain of 


the liberal aid we have met with, we had no thought of submitting ; much 
sooner would we have abandoned our houses, our estates, and all our tem- 
poral interest, than by our treachery, or cowardice, have betrayed the 
rights of all America. We thank you for your generous intentions 
toward us, and would inform you, that whatever donations are sent, 
either to Boston or Charlestown, they are put into common stock 
and shared in a proportion agreed on by the two towns. Our present 
necessities are very pressing, as we have a tedious winter before us, and 
have as yet received but a small part of what our generous friends intend 
for us. It is with the greatest pleasure we accept your invitation to a fre- 
quent correspondence, and shall always gladly communicate to you every 
thing of a public nature that we think worth your notice. We have now 
enclosed you a printed copy of the resolves of this county at a meeting of 
delegates from every town and district in it, which, with very little varia- 
tion, appears to be the sense of the Province in general. We cannot 
learn that many poor people have removed from Boston or Charlestown. 
The propriety of sending the women and children out of said towns is now 
under consideration, and will, we suppose, be determined by the Provincial 
Congress, which meets on the 11th of this month. As soon as we are 
possessed of their determination, we will communicate it to you. Relying 
on the benevolence of our countrymen, if we are reduced to the dire neces- 
sity of taking such a step, that they will receive our helpless women and 
children into their kind protection. 

" We are your friends and 

" fellow sufferers in the common cause. 
" In the name of and by order of the Committee of Correspondence. 

" Isaac Foster, Jr., Clerk. 1 
" To the towns of Sharon and Salisbury." 

Meantime the provisions of the Port Bill were rigidly executed. 
A severe winter was before the inhabitants, but this prospect did 
not repress their patriotic spirit. The Boston Gazette stated that 
on pursuing, on the 4th of November, a person who had been 
guilty of breaking the peace, in this town, " a barrel and bag of tea 
were stumbled upon, which were immediately carried to the train- 
ing field and committed to the flames." Further search was made 
and enough tea found to fill a large hogshead. " This was con- 
veyed to a place called the Green, before Cape Breton Tavern, and 
a quantity of fagots laid round it, they were set on fire and the 
whole were consumed. Every thing was conducted with such 
stillness and order, that many people there knew nothing of it until 
the next morning." The quantity destroyed was between four 
and five hundred pounds. 2 

1 This letter, and other letters from the Committee, are copied from 
MSS. in the Cabinet of Mass. Hist. Society. 

2 The selectmen for 1773, 1774 and 1775 were, Nathaniel Gorham, Na- 
thaniel Frothingham, Nehemiah Rand, Peter Tufts, Jr., John Stanton, 
James Gardner, Stephen Miller. Nathaniel Gorham was representative. 


The Provincial Congress, on the 30th of November, passed a 
vote of thanks to the other Colonies for their "free and generous 
contributions " to Boston and Charlestown ; and declared them to 
be convincing proofs " of the firm attachment of all the Colonies 
to the glorious cause of American Liberty." And, on the 6th of 
December, it adopted the following preamble and resolve : — 

" The operation of the cruel and iniquitous Boston Port Bill, that in- 
strument of ministerial vengeance, having reduced our once happy capital 
and the neighboring town of Charlestown, from affluence and ease to ex- 
treme distress ; many of their inhabitants being deprived of even the means 
of procuring the necessaries of life ; from all which they have most nobly 
refused to purchase an exemption by surrendering the rightsof Americans ; 
and although the charitable donations from the other Colonies and several 
towns in this Province, have, in a good measure, relieved their immediate 
necessities while their approbation has animated them to persevere in patient 
suffering for the public good, yet as the severity of winter is now approach- 
ing, which must greatly add to their misery ; and there has been no general 
collection for them in this Colony, we hold ourselves obliged, in justice, to 
contribute to their support ; while they, under such a weight of oppression, 
are supporting our rights and privileges. 

" It is therefore Resolved, That it be recommended to our constituents, 
the inhabitants of the other towns, districts and parishes, within this Prov- 
ince, that they further contribute liberally to alleviate the burden of those 
persons, who are the more immediate objects of ministerial resentment, 
and are suffering in the common cause of their country ; seriously con- 
sidering how much the liberty, and consequently the happiness, of our- 
selves and posterity, depend, under God, on the firmness and resolution of 
those worthy patriots." 

Doctor Isaac Foster, Richard Devens and David Cheever, were 
appointed a committee to transmit this " Brief" to the ministers 
in the Province to be read in the churches. This action gave 
fresh impulse to the donations. In some instances the supplies 
were received with much parade. A letter, dated Charlestown, 
January 14, 1775, relates, in the following manner, the arrival of 
contributions from two towns : " While servile placemen, pension- 
ers and expectants, are employing their venal pens in support of a 
system of tyranny, the honest yeomanry of this Province are join- 
ing our compassionate brethren of the other Colonies in giving 
substantial proofs of their attachment to the common cause of 
America. The week past has afforded several instances of their 
readiness to relieve their distressed friends at this severe season. 
I will mention only two, as they happened to arrive in this town. 
On Tuesday last the inhabitants of Lexington sent sixty-one loads 
of wood and some money, as a present to the poor sufferers by the 
Boston Port Bill ; and on Thursday last the first and third Parishes 


in Reading sent twenty-seven loads of wood, some money, and some 
grain, for the same purpose. On one of the sleds was hoisted the 
Union Flag, with the following inscription in its centre : — 


" Ye noble patriots ! constant, firm and true, 

Your country's safety much depends on you ; 

In patient suffering greatly persevere, 

From cold, from famine, you have nought to fear ; 

With tender eye the country views your wo — 

With your distress will her assistance grow ; 

Or if (which Heaven avert) some fatal hour 

Should force you from your homes, by tyrant power — 

To her retire — with open generous heart 

All needful aid and comfort she'll impart : 

Gladly she'll share the wealth by Heaven bestown 

With those, for her, who've sacrificed their own." 

There are living witnesses of these scenes. The trains of sleds 
were gaily decorated with flags and emblems ; the citizens lined 
the streets and received them with hearty and repeated huzzas. 
Nor were the committees allowed to depart without being enter- 
tained at one of the patriotic taverns — on this occasion at Captain 
Nathan Adams's — at the expense of the town. 

The committee on donations consisted of Nathaniel Gorham, 
Nathaniel Frothingham, Nehemiah Rand, Peter Tufts, Jun., John 
Stanton, Stephen Miller, James Gardner, Edward Goodwin, John 
Larkin, 2d, David Wait, Thomas Wood, Isaac Codman, Isaac 
Foster, Peter Edes, John Frothingham, Richard Devens, David 
Cheever, John Codman, Isaac Foster, Jr., William Wyer. It 
met at. the house of Capt. Nathan Adams, on the 1st of August, 
and organized by the choice of Isaac Foster, chairman, and Seth 
Sweetser, clerk. 

I have the journal 1 of this committee, containing full details of 
its action until its last adjournment, April 5, 1775. It at first met 
once a week at Capt. Adams's tavern, and among other arrange- 
ments, made provision to give, employment to the poor. It de- 
termined to carry on the nail business, to lay out brick-yards, to 
buy wool, and employ people" in carding, knitting, and spinning;'' 
to buy leather, and to hire shoemakers ; to buy old junk, and em- 
ploy persons to pick oakum, and to build a vessel. The wages 
were 18s. old tenor a day — one half in provision, the other half in 

1 I am indebted to Mrs. Boylston for this interesting manuscript. 


cash, and an allowance of "half a pint of rum each day, and sugar 
in proportion." The products, and such portions of provisions as 
were not wanted were sold, and the money distributed to the most 
necessitous. No meal was allowed to be sold for " horses or hogs ;" 
the price of flour was " seven pounds for 9s. ; 3 1-2 pounds for 
4s. 6d., and a single pound three coppers;" butter at 5s., and no 
family was allowed to have over three pounds. The annual 
Thanksgiving was duly noticed, but not more than 8s. L. M., was 
given to any one family. No glove makers were relieved, as they 
were not sufferers by the Port Bill ; and January 4, it was voted 
to make no grant " to any person that consumed foreign tea in his 
family," and that every suspected person who applied should be 
critically examined. In March and April, 1775, the applications 
were numerous. At a sitting, April 5, forty-three were relieved ; 
when it was voted to adjourn for a fortnight, to meet at 5 o'clock, 
P. M. This is the last record ; the hour fixed for the adjournment, 
was the time the troops were returning from Concord, on the 
memorable nineteenth of April. 

It will be recollected that town meetings, after August I, were 
prohibited. Governor Gage, early in the month, summoned the 
Boston selectmen to the Province House, and announced his inten- 
tion to enforce the law. In Salem he ordered his troops to dis- 
perse a meeting. Yet the citizens of this town, for the eight suc- 
ceeding months, held meetings and carried on their patriotic action 
as usual ; the Regulating Act prohibited the calling of meetings, 
but was silent as to adjournments ! And hence the citizens contin- 
ued their legal meeting of July 30, until the ensuing March. This 
meeting, it has been stated, was adjourned to August 8, and again 
to August 12. The proceedings have been detailed. It was 
next adjourned to August 26. At this adjournment the donation 
committee were authorized to commence the nail business, and to 
make brick ; when John Harris offered sufficient clay in his pasture 
at Moulton's Point, free of charge, to make twenty thousand brick. 
After presenting the thanks of the town to Mr. Harris for his gen- 
erous donation, the moderator adjourned the meeting to Sept. 9. 
At this meeting of Sept. 9, the patriotic proceedings of the coun- 
ty convention at Concord, August 30 and 31, were acted upon 
and ordered to be spread upon the records. They fill four pages, 
but relate rather to the history of the county than to the town. 


The meeting was then adjourned to Sept. 26. At this time a le- 
gal meeting was called to choose representatives, and after elect- 
ing Nathaniel Gorham and Richard Devens, it was dissolved. 
Then the adjourned meeting of July 30, elected David Cheever 
and Isaac Foster, Jr., delegates to act in the Provincial Congress 
to be holden at Concord in October, and also authorized the two 
representatives to act in conjunction with them. The meeting 
was again adjourned to October 24, and then to November 21. 
At this adjournment "not being a full meeting," the clerk was 
directed to post up notifications desiring a general attendance — 
" there being matters of great importance to be laid before the 
town by the committees." The meeting was adjourned to the 
26th. On this day, the following votes were passed : — 

" Voted, That a committee be chosen to see the resolutions and deter- 
minations of the Grand American Congress, also such resolutions and de- 
terminations of the Provincial Congress as are already made public, be 
duly executed so far as relates to this town. 

" Voted, That the committee consist of eleven persons, and that they be 
chosen by hand vote, — namely : Nathan Adams, Benjamin Hurd, Wil- 
liam Ford, Caleb Call, Samuel Conant, John Harris, Nathaniel Austin, 
Louis Foye, Isaiah Edes, James Fosdick, Samuel Wait. 

" Voted, That the Committee of Correspondence of this town be directed 
to use their influence with the Committees of Correspondence in the neigh- 
bor towns, that the prohibitions that withholds straw from the troops may 
be taken off. 

" Voted, That such of the collectors of this town as are indebted to the 
Province pay the sums due from them respectively into the hands of 
Henry Gardner, Esq., of Stowe, agreeable to the directions of the 
Provincial Congress, and the town engage to indemnify them in case any 
loss or damage arise to them thereby." 

After these important proceedings, this meeting was adjourned 
to December 10; when it was adjourned to December 22, and 
again to Thursday, December 29. The " committees having 
nothing to offer," the meeting was further adjourned to the first 
Monday in February. Another town-meeting was held on the 29th 
when the Address of the Provincial Congress was read and ordered 
to be recorded, and Nathaniel Gorham and Richard Devens were 
chosen delegates to the Provincial Congress in February. The 
July meeting was held by adjournment, on Feb. 6, and adjourned 
to the first Monday in March. Only one more town-meeting was 
held before the destruction of the town, which was on March 21, 
when David Cheever was chosen another delegate to the Provin- 
cial Congress. 




1775. Military Preparations. — The Alarm Lists. — Marches of Troops 
into the Country. — Massachusetts declared to be in Rebellion. — 
General Gage resolves to destroy the Stores. — The British Officers. — 
Richard Deven's relation. — Expedition to Concord. — Firing near 
Prospect Hill. — Events in Charlestown. — Entrance by the Troops. — 
Distress of the Inhabitants. — Jacob Roger's Petition. — Assembling 
of an Army. — Charlestown threatened, and distress of the Inhabi- 
tants. — Their Removal. — Fortifications. — Exchange of prisoners. — 
Resolve to occupy Bunker Hill. — Description of Charlestown. 

The period has been reached when the events that occurred 
in Charlestown are so intimately connected with general history, 
that it is difficult to select that which is merely local. A narra- 
tive, however, will be expected of the military transactions that 
occurred within its limits. 1 

The British administration determined to enforce, at all 
hazards, complete submission to the Act altering the charter 
of Massachusetts passed in May, 1774, while the people resolved 
to resist its execution. Hence General Gage concentrated a 
strong force in Boston, and the patriots made efficient prepara- 
tions for their defense. In the councils of this period, consisting 
of meetings of the committees of correspondence, of the com- 
mittees of safety, of the county convention, and of the Provincial 
Congress, delegates of Charlestown bore an active part. The 

1 A narrative of the military transactions that took place within the 
limits of Charlestown, was prepared for this work from the printed 
authorities, on the supposition that the researches of others had 
exhausted the subject On further reflection, however, it seemed more 
in accordance with the character of the preceding portion of the 
volume, to construct an account, as much as possible, from original 
authorities. On collecting them, the quantity of matter became 
embarrassing, and could not properly be put into a work of so local a 
character. Hence it has been prepared into an octavo volume of over 
four hundred pages, entitled, " History of the Siege of Boston and 
of the Battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. Also, an 
account of the Bunker Hill Monument. With Illustrative Documents." 
The reader is referred to this work for a fuller detail of the military 
transactions of 1775 and 1776, and for a fuller reference to the 



firm support given by the Town to the patriot cause continued 
even after such support became hazardous. There is no allusion 
however on the records to any military preparation. Its early 
attention to this subject (see page 285) elicited praise from the 
leading patriots, and the absence of votes relative to " alarm 
lists " and military discipline, must be ascribed to its peculiar 
situation. The following record shows that its citizens did not 
neglect the call of the Provincial Congress, and shows who com- 
posed its " Minute men": — 

Charlestown, December 2, 1774. 
At a meeting of the Engine Men of the Town, at Captain Adam's, 
Voted, that the three companies be united in one body as exempts. 

2. That the officers of said company where chosen to it, Captain 
Joseph Hopkins, Lieut. Nathaniel Frothingham, and John Austin, 

3. The three companies meet separately to learn to exercise. 

4. That every man be provided with a good gun and bayonet, with a 
iron ramrod, in one month, on forfeiture of three shillings. 

5. That Captain Joseph Hopkins and Lieutenant Frothingham, En- 
sign Austin, and Mr. Isaiah Edes, and Mr. David Wood, Jr., be a com- 
mittee to wait upon the following gentlemen, to see whether they will 
join the body of the Engine Men, viz. 

Mr. Richard Devens, Capt. Nath'l Adams, 

Mr. Nathaniel Gorham, Mr. Nath'l Rand, 

Mr. Benjamin Hurd, Mr. John Stanton, 

Mr. John Hay, Mr. Samuel Conant, 

Mr. Isaac Foster, Jr., Mr. David Wait, 

Mr. Isaac Codman, Mr. JohnLarkin, 

Mr. Benj. Swetser, Mr. Samuel Rand, 

Mr. Thomas Goodwin, Mr. Thomas Welsh, 

Mr. Wm. Harris, Mr. John Beckham, 

Mr.' John Austin, 3d., Mr. Lewis Foye. 

No military event of importance occurred in the winter of 
1774-5. Small detachments of the British army came out, 
occasionally, over the Ferry, marched into the country, and 
returned to Boston, and British officers were often seen in the 
streets. The patriots used every exertion to prevent collisions 
between the " alarm lists " and the Regulars, and a plan had 
been agreed upon to avoid hostilities as long as possible. This 
policy was put to a severe test by expeditions sent (January 23, 
1775) to Marshfield, and (February 26) to Salem. The Com- 
mittee of Safety, of whom Richard Devens of this town was a 
prominent member, and the Committee of Supplies, of whom 
David Cheever of this town was an active member, were busy in 
collecting stores at Concord for the support of an army, while 
reports were current that General Gage intended to destroy them. 


As early as March fourteenth, couriers were engaged by the 

Committee of Safety to alarm the country in case this was 

attempted. The movements of the troops were narrowly watched. 

When a brigade (March 30) marched out in the direction of 

Jamaica Plain, the Charlestown committee received the following 

summons : — 

Boston, March 30, 1775. 
Gentlemen, — The alarming manoeuvre of a large detachment of the 
army is the reason of our desiring your attendance at our chamber in 
Faneuil Hall to-morrow, at ten o'clock, a. m., in order to determine 
upon measures of safety. The wisdom of the joint committees has 
been very conspicuous. The fullest exertion of the same wisdom is 
absolutely necessary at this excited time. We therefore desire your 
punctual attendance. 

We are, gentlemen, 

Your friends and countrymen. 

Signed, by order of the committee 
of correspondence of Boston, 

William Cooper, Clerk. 
To Committee of Correspondence for Charlestown. 

In the early part of April it became more and more evident 
that the time for the last appeal was at hand. It was proclaimed 
in England that Massachusetts was in a state of rebellion ; and 
the King gave assurances to Parliament that speedy measures 
should be taken to put the rebellion down. This was published 
(April 4) in the Boston Journals. The Provincial Congress took 
decisive measures, and among other acts, it sent (April 7) a 
circular to the local committees of correspondence, " most 
earnestly recommending " them to see to it that " the militia and 
minute men " be found in the best posture of defense whenever 
any exigence might require their aid, but at whatever expense 
of patience or forbearance to act on the defensive. 

This warning was needed. General Gage having about four 
thousand troops in Boston, determined to destroy the stores 
collected at Concord. To prevent intelligence from reaching the 
country of the march of his troops, he ordered officers (April 18) 
to station themselves on the roads leading out of Boston. The 
following relation, by Richard Devens, shows what occurred in 
Charlestown during the evening. Messrs. Gerry, Orne, Lee and 
Watson, were members of the Committee of Safety or Supplies : — 

" On the 18th of April, '75, Tuesday, the committee of safety, of 
which I was then a member, and the committee of supplies, sat at 
Newell's tavern, (the records of the committee of safety say Wether- 
by's,) at Menotomy. A great number of British officers dined at 
Cambridge. After we had finished the business of the day, we 


adjourned to meet at Wobum on the morrow, — left to lodge at Newell's, 
Gerry, Orne, and Lee. Mr. Watson and myself came off in my chaise 
at sunset. On the road we met a great number of B. O. (British 
officers) and their servants on horseback, who had dined that day at 
Cambridge. We rode some way after we met them, and then turned 
back and rode through them, went and informed our friends at 
Newell's. We stopped there till they came up and rode by. We 
then left our friends, and I came home, after leaving Mr. Watson at his 
house. I soon received intelligence from Boston, that the enemy were 
all in motion, and were certainly preparing to come out into the 
country. Soon afterward, the signal agreed upon was given ; this was 
a lanthorn hung out in the upper window of the tower of the N. Ch., 
(North Church) towards Charlestown. I then sent off an express to 
inform Messrs. Gerry, &c, and Messrs. Hancock and A. (Adams) who 

I knew were at the Rev. Mr. (Clark's) at Lexington, that the 

enemy were certainly coming out. I kept watch at the Ferry to 
watch for the boats till about eleven o'clock, when Paul Revere came 
over and informed that the T. (Troops) were actually in their boats. I 
then took a horse from Mr. Larkin's barn and sent off P. Revere to give 
the intelligence at Menotomy and Lexington. He was taken by the 
British officers before mentioned before he got to Lexington, and 
detained till near day." 1 

Colonel Smith., at the head of about, eight hundred troops, 
landed this evening (18th) at Lechmere's Point between ten and 
eleven, reached Lexington about half past four on the morning 
of the memorable nineteenth of April, and after a skirmish with 
the minute men, pursued his march towards Concord. He 
reached that town about seven in the morning. After partially- 
destroying the stores collected there, a skirmish, about ten, 
occurred at the North Bridge. At twelve he commenced his 
return to Boston. He was so severely attacked by the minute 
men that, had not Lord Percy met the harrassed and dispirited 
troops with a reinforcement about two o'clock in Lexington, the 
whole detachment must have been cut off. After a short halt the 
troops recommenced their march. There was sharp firing on 
West Cambridge Plain. From this place the British troops took 
the road that winds round Prospect Hill. When they entered 
this part of Charlestown their situation was critical. The large 
number of the wounded proved a distressing obstruction to their 
progress, while they had but few rounds of ammunition left. Their 
field-pieces had lost their terror. The main body of the pro- 
vincials hung closely on their rear ; a strong force was advancing 

1 Paul Revere was not taken until after he arrived at Lexington. He nar- 
rowly escaped being captured just outside of Charlestown Neck. See his 
Narrative. The relation in the text was found among the papers of Richard 
Dever>R,for a liberal use of which I am indebted to David Devens, Esq. 


upon them from Roxbury, Dorchester, and Milton ; while Colonel 
Pickering, with the Essex militia, seven hundred strong, threat- 
ened to cut off their retreat to Charlestown. 1 Near Prospect Hill 
the fire again became sharp, and the British again had recourse 
to their field-pieces. James Miller, of this town, was killed 
here. Along its base, Lord Percy, it is stated, received the 
hottest fire he had during his retreat. General Gage, about 
sunset, might have beheld his harrassed troops, almost on the 
run, coming down the old Cambridge road to Charlestown Neck, 
anxious to get under the protection of the guns of the ships of 
war. The minute-men closely followed them, but when they 
reached the Charlestown Common, General Heath ordered them 
to stop the pursuit. 

Charlestown, throughout the day, presented a scene of intense 
excitement and great confusion. It was known early in the 
morning that the regulars -were out. Rumors soon arrived of the 
events that had occurred at Lexington. The schools were dis- 
missed, and citizens gathered in groups in the streets. 2 About 
ten o'clock, Dr. Warren, just out of Boston, rode on horseback 
through the town. He had received intelligence of the events 
of the morning, and told the citizens that the news of the firing 

1 Dr. Welsh, who was on Prospect Hill when the British went by, 
saw Colonel Pickering's regiment on the top of Winter Hill, near the 
front of Mr. Adams' house, the enemy being very near in Charlestown 
road. Washington writes, May 31, 1775 : " If the retreat had not been 
as precipitate as it was, — and God knows it could not well have been 
more so, — the ministerial troops must have surrendered, or been 
totally cut off. For they had not arrived in Charlestown, (under cover 
of their ships,) half an hour, before a powerful body of men from Mar- 
blehead and Salem was at their heels, and must, if they had happened 
to be up one hour sooner, inevitably have intercepted their retreat to 
Charlestown." — Sparks' Washington, vol. n., p. 407. 

Dr. Welsh said that cannon fired occasionally. The troops kept up 
a steady fire. A MS. letter of Mr. W. B. Shedd states that in a house 
now in Somerville, at the foot of Prospect Hill, a regular was found, on 
the return of the inmates, laying across the draw of a secretary, dead, 
having been shot through the window as he was pilfering. 

2 The late Dr. Prince, of Salem, used to relate, that as he was stand- 
ing with a party of armed men at Charlestown Neck, a person enveloped 
in a cloak rode up on horseback, inquired the news, and passed on ; but 
he immediately put spur to his horse, and the animal started forward so 
suddenly as to cause the rider to raise his arms, throw up the cloak, and 
thus reveal a uniform. The men instantly levelled their guns to fire, 
when Dr. Prince struck them up, exclaiming, " Don't fire at him — he 
is my friend Small, a fine fellow." It was Major Small, an express 
from the army, who got safe into Boston. 


was true. Among others he met Dr. Welsh, who said, " Well, 
they are gone out." " Yes," replied the Dr., " and we'll be up 
with them before night." A large number seized their guns and 
went out to meet the British, and the greater part who remained 
were women and children. Early in the afternoon, Hon. James 
Russell received a note from General Gage, to the effect, that he 
had been informed that citizens had gone out armed to oppose his 
majesty's troops, and that if a single man more went out armed, 
the most disagreeable consequences might be expected. Judge 
Russell stood in front of his mansion house, in the present 
square, and read this letter to a crowd of anxious inhabitants. 
A spirited patriot exclaimed, with an oath, " I'll go out and fight 
the regulars, if Gage does burn the town." It was next reported, 
and correctly, that Cambridge Bridge had been taken up, and 
that hence the regulars would be obliged to return to Boston 
through the town. Many then prepared to leave, and every 
vehicle was employed to carry away their most valuable effects. 
Others, however, still believing the troops would return the way 
they went out, determined to remain, and in either event to abide 
the worst. Just before sunset the noise of distant firing was 
heard, and soon the British troops were seen in the Cambridge 
road. The inhabitants then rushed towards the Neck. Some 
crossed Mystic River, at Penny Ferry. Some ran along the 
marsh, towards Medford. The troops, however, soon approached 
the town, firing as they came along, — a lad, Edward Barber, 
being killed on the Neck, as he was standing at a window in a 
house at the corner of the road leading to Maiden Bridge. The 
inhabitants then turned back into the town, panic-struck. Word 
ran through the crowd that " The Britons were massacring the 
women and children ! " Some remained in the streets, speech- 
less with terror ; some ran to the clay-pits, back of Breed's Hill, 
where they passed the night. The troops, however, offered no 
injury to the inhabitants. Their officers directed the women and 
children, half-distracted with fright, to go into their houses, and 
they would be safe, but requested them to hand out drink to the 
troops. The main body occupied Bunker Hill, and formed a 
line opposite the Neck. Additional troops also were sent over 
from Boston. The officers flocked to the tavern in the square, 
where the cry was for drink. Guards were stationed in various 
parts of the town. One was placed at the Neck, with orders to 


permit no one to go out. Every thing, during the night, was 
quiet. Some of the wounded were carried over immediately, in 
the boats of the Somerset, to Boston. General Pigot had the 
command in Charlestown the next day, when the troops all 
returned to their quarters. 

There are many accounts of the arrival of the British troops 
in Charlestown. The Salem Gazette, April 25, says : " The 
consternation of the people of Charlestown, when our enemies 
were entering the town, is inexpressible ; the troops, however, 
behaved tolerably civil, and the people have since nearly all left 
the town." Stiles, in his diary, April 24, 1775, writes : " In the 
afternoon of the same day, by order of General Gage, a procla- 
mation was read to the inhabitants of Charlestown, purporting 
that he would lay that town in ashes if they obstructed the king's 
troops." Clark says : The firing continued, " with but little 
intermission, to the close of the day, when the troops entered 
Charlestown, where the provincials could not follow them, 
without exposing the worthy inhabitants of that truly patriotic 
town to their rage and revenge." Governor Trumbull, in his 
Letter, says : — " The heights of Charlestown afforded the 
astonished, dispirited fugitives, an asylum for the night ; though 
even when so advantageously posted, their courage was not so 
much their protection as their cruelty, in threatening the destruc- 
tion of the Town, in revenge of a new attack." De Bernicre 
(British) writes : " At about seven o'clock in the evening we 
arrived at Charlestown. They kept up a scattering fire at us all 
the way. At Charlestown we took possession of a hill that com- 
manded the town, the selectmen of which sent to Lord Percy to 
let him know that if he would not attack the town, they would 
take care that the troops should not be molested, and also they 
would do all in their power for to get us across the Ferry. The 
Somerset man of war lay there at that time, and all her boats 
were employed first in getting over the wounded and after them 
the rest of the troops. The pickets of 10th regiment, and some 
more troops, were sent over to Charlestown that night to keep 
every thing quiet, and returned next day." 

A petition of one of the citizens, Jacob Rogers, presented to 
the Provincial Congress in October, 1775, presents so minute a 
detail of'the events of the evening, that an extract from it is 
given. It was his brother-in-law, who was killed on the Neck. 


Captain Rogers had been charged with supplying the British 
troops with refreshment : — 

"•As to my conduct the 19th of April : We were alarmed with vari- 
ous reports concerning the king's troops, which put everybody in 
confusion. About ten in the morning I met Doctor Warren riding 
hastily out of town, and asked him if the news was true of the men's 
being killed at Lexington ; he assured me it was. I replied I was 
very glad our people had not fired first, as it would have given the 
king's troops a handle to execute their project of desolation. He 
rode on. 

" In the afternoon Mr. James Russell received a letter from General 
Gage, importing that he was informed the people of Charlestown had 
gone out armed to oppose his majesty's troops, and that if one single 
man more went out armed, we might expect the most disagreeable 

" A line-of-battle ship lying before the town ; a report that Cam- 
bridge bridge was taken up ; no other retreat but through Charles- 
town; numbers of men, women, and children, in this confusion, 
getting out of town. Among the rest, I got my chaise, took my wife 
and children ; and as I live near the school-house, in a back street, 
drove into the main street, put my children in a cart with others then 
driving out of town, who were fired at several times on the common, 
and followed after. Just abreast of Captain Fenton's, on the neck 
of land, Mr. David Waitt, leather-dresser, of Charlestown, came riding 
in full speed from Cambridge, took hold of my reins, and assisted me 
to turn up on Bunker's Hill, as he said the troops were then entering 
the common. I had just reached the summit of the hill, dismounted 
from the chaise, and tied it fast in my father-in-law's pasture, when we 
saw the troops within about forty rods of us, on the hill. One Hayley, 
a tailor, now of Cambridge, with his wife, and a gun on his shoulder, 
going towards them, drew a whole volley of shot on himself and us, 
that I expected my wife, or one of her sisters, who were with us, to 
drop every moment. 

"It being now a little dark, we proceeded with many others to the 
Pest House, till we arrived at Mr. Townsend's, pump-maker, in the 
training-field ; on hearing women's voices, we went in, and found him, 
Captain Adams, tavern-keeper, Mr. Samuel Cary, now clerk to Colonel 
Mifflin, quartermaster-general, and some others, and a house full 
of women and children, in the greatest terror, afraid to go to their own 
habitations. After refreshing ourselves, it being then dark, Mr. Cary, 
myself, and one or two more, went into town, to see if we might, with 
safety, proceed to our own houses. On our way met a Mr. Hutchinson, 
who informed us all was then pretty quiet ; that when the soldiers 
came through the street the officers desired the women and children 
to keep in doors for their safety ; that they begged for drink, which the 
people were glad to bring them, for fear of their being ill-treated. Mr. 
Cary and I proceeded to the tavern by the Town House, where the 
officers were; all was tumult and confusion; nothing but drink called 
for everywhere. I stayed a few minutes, and proceeded to my own 
house, and finding things pretty quiet, went in search of my wife and 
sisters, and found them coming up the street with Captain Adams. On 
our arrival at home, we found that her brother, a youth of fourteen, 
was shot dead on the Neck of land by the soldiers, as he was looking 
out of a window. I stayed a little while to console them, and went 
into the Main Street to see if all was quiet, and found an officer and 



guard under arms by Mr. David Wood's, baker, who continued, it 
seems, all night ; from thence, seeing every thing quiet, came home and 
went to bed, and never gave assistance or refreshment of any kind 
whatever. Neither was any officer or soldier near my house that day 
or night. The next morning, with difficulty, I obtained to send for my 
horse and chaise from off the hill, where it had been all night, and 
found my cushion stole, and many other things I had in the box. Went 
to wait on Gen. Pigot, the commanding officer, for leave to go in search 
of my children ; found Doctor Rand, Captain Cordis, and others, there 
for the same purpose, but could not obtain it till he had sent to Boston 
for orders, and could not find them till next night, having travelled in 
fear from house to house, till they got to Captain Waters', in Maiden." 

As intelligence of the events of this memorable day spread 
through the country, the minute-men and individual volunteers, 
from every quarter, rushed to the neighborhood of Boston. In 
two days twenty thousand armed men had assembled. Charles- 
town, as well as Boston, became in a state of siege. Though 
the British troops (April 20) returned to their quarters, yet the 
peculiar situation of the town, -added to the threats of the British 
commander, created the belief that it would be destroyed in case 
it was occupied by the Americans. At this time the British 
general and the Tories feared that the exasperated multitude 
would make an attack on Boston, while threats to this effect were 
passing from mouth to mouth, in the American camp. On the 
21st General Gage sent to the selectmen a message, to the effect 
that if the American forces were allowed to occupy the town, or 
to throw up works on the heights, the ships would be ordered 
to fire on it. A midshipman on board the Nautilus, then lying in 
the river, about this time wrote as follows : — 

" My situation here is not very pleasant, for I am stationed in an 
open boat, at the mouth of Charles River, to watch the Americans, who 
are busily employed in making fire-stages, to send down the stream to 
burn our ships. I have command of six men, and a six-pounder is 
fixed to the bow of our boat, which we are to fire to alarm the camp 
and fleet, as soon as we observe the fire-stages. The inhabitants of 
Boston are delivering up their arms, and leaving the town. The 
Somerset, of 74 guns, lays between Boston and Charlestown, which are 
only separated by a channel about a mile broad, and our ship lays about 
half a mile above her ; and if she sees a particular signal hung out, she 
is to fire on Charlestown." 

At a subsequent period, when an American detachment ap- 
peared on the heights, the British general renewed his threat. 
There is among the papers of Richard Devens the following 
memorandum : — 

" This town was given up. Upon the appearance of some American 
troops on B. Hill, Gen. G. (Gage) sent over from B. (Boston) and threat- 


ened the town that if (the) men were not removed from the hill he 
would burn the town. A committee from the T. (town) waited on the 
C. in chief, G. W., (commander-in-chief, General Ward,) informed him 
of the threat they had received from G. G., (General Gage,) and at the 
same time informed him that if it was for (the) good of the whole they 
would not object." 

In consequence of these threats the town became nearly 
deserted. They who were able, removed much of their furniture 
into the country. The Provincial Congress had made provision 
for the poor of Boston who were unable to leave that town or to 
support themselves, and hence the following petition was pre- 
sented relative to Charlestown. It bears no date, but was acted 
on in May. It gives a better idea of the condition of the town 
than any long description : — 

To the Hon. the Provincial Congress now sitting at Watertown : 

The Committee of the Town of Charlestown, appointed by the 
Congress to convey the Poor of Boston to the Towns in the country 
which a are to receive them, beg leave humbly represent to this Congress, 
that the inhabitants of the Town of Charlestown who are able to 
get into the country, have generally left the Town, and there now 
remains a few people, who, by reason of their extreme poverty, are 
wholly unable to do any thing towards removing themselves from the 
extreme hazardous situation that they are now in ; and as the inhabi- 
tants who were able to render them any assistance, to make their lives 
more comfortable, have left the Town, their situation is truly deplorable. 
The Committee beg leave further to represent, that the distress under 
which the inhabitants of Charlestown now labor, flows from the same 
source with our brethren of Boston — and we have heretofore, in all the 
generous donations, been in proportion to our numbers so considered. 
The Committee therefore pray that they may be empowered by the 
Hon. Congress to provide for such poor as now remain in Charlestown 
by sending them to some Towns in the country to be provided for in 
the same manner as those of Boston. 

Nathaniel Gorham, *\ 
Edward Goodwin C Committee .i 
John r rothingham, I 
James Bradish, Jr. J 

The prayer of this petition was granted. The same provision 
was made for the poor of Charlestown that was made for the 
poor of Boston. The towns in the interior were ordered to 
support them. 

The American commanders endeavored to cut off all inter- 
course with Boston. Hence all travel into it through Charlestown 
was forbidden. A general order (May 6) prohibited the granting 
of permits to any persons even for the purpose of carrying in 
provisions. Another order, however, (13th) permitted Captain 

1 Mass. Archives. 


Isaac Foster to carry in articles for the inhabitants. No one 
without a pass was allowed to go in. A few citizens went in to 
look after their effects, or to plant their gardens, or to mow their 
grass. But so hazardous was living in it considered, that on the 
17th of June only one or two hundred remained out of a popula- 
tion of between two and three thousand. 

Until after the Battle of Bunker Hill no fortifications were 
erected on Winter Hill or on Prospect Hill. A guard only 
appears to have been stationed on the latter, which was ordered 
there as early as April twenty-first. A breastwork was thrown 
up on the Cambridge road near the base of Prospect Hill. A 
joint committee (May 12) consisting of members of the Commit- 
tee of Safety and of the Council of War, recommended the 
construction of strong works on Prospect Hill, Winter Hill and 
Bunker Hill, the object of them being to prevent sallies of the 
enemy out of Boston. A number of " fire boats " and other 
boats were built in this town at this period. Richard Devens was 
directed to secure them. The selectmen of Medford were also 
ordered to take a party of men to Charlestown Neck to launch 
them and carry them up Mystic River. 

On the 13th of May, in the afternoon, all the troops stationed 
in Cambridge, except those on guard, marched under General 
Putnam, into Charlestown. They were twenty-two hundred in 
number, and their line of March was made to extend a mile and 
a half. They went over Bunker Hill, and also over Breed's Hill, 
came out by Captain Henly's still-house, and passed into the 
main street by the fish-market, near the old ferry, where Charles 
River Bridge is. They then returned to Cambridge. It was 
done to inspire the army with confidence. Though they went 
within reach of the guns of the enemy, both from Boston and 
the shipping, no attempt was made to molest them. 

On the 6th of June an exchange of prisoners took place in this 
town, under the direction of Dr. Warren and Gen. Putnam. 
The procession was escorted by the Wethersfield company, com- 
manded by Captain Chester. The American prisoners, captured 
on the 19th of April, were delivered by Major Moncrief, who 
landed from the Lively. An entertainment was provided at the 
house of Dr. Foster, where the British officers and the American 
officers spent several hours most agreeably. The Wethersfield 
company acquired much credit for their bearing on this occasion. 


It had been reported that General Gage intended to move into 
the country, and the Council of War considered the expediency 
of anticipating his movements. The report of the committee 
relative to erecting works on the heights of Charlestown, was 
earnestly debated. On the most important measure, that of 
occupying Bunker Hill, there was much difference of opinion. 
General Putnam, Colonel Prescott, and other veteran officers, 
were strongly in favor of it, and chiefly to draw the enemy out 
of Boston on ground where he might be met on equal terms. 
They urged that the army wished to be employed, and that the 
country was growing dissatisfied with its inactivity. They felt 
great confidence in the militia. "The Americans," Putnam 
said, " were not afraid of their heads, though very much afraid 
of their legs ; if you cover these, they will fight forever." 
Generals Ward and Warren were among those who opposed it, 
and chiefly because the army was not in a condition, as it 
respected cannon and powder, to maintain so exposed a post ; and 
because it might bring on a general engagement, which it was 
neither politic nor safe to risk. It was determined to take 
possession of Bunker Hill, and also of Dorchester Heights, but 
not until the army should be better organized, more abundantly 
supplied with powder, and better able to defend posts so exposed. 

The contemplated operations of General Gage, however, 
brought matters to a crisis. He fixed upon the night of June 18, 
to take possession of Dorchester Heights. Authentic advice 
of this was communicated — June 13 — to the American com- 
manders. The committee of safety, on the same day, ordered 
the general to procure an immediate return of the state and 
equipments of the several regiments. On the 15th, it resolved to 
recommend to the Provincial Congress to provide for an imme- 
diate augmentation of the army, and to order that the militia 
of the colony hold themselves ready to march on the shortest 
notice. Also, that it issue a general recommendation to the 
people to go to meeting armed, on the Lord's day, in order to 
prevent being thrown into confusion. The committee of safety 
then passed, on the same day, the following resolve : — 

Whereas, it appears of importance to the safety of this colony, 
that possession of the hill called Bunker's Hill, in Charlestown, 
be securely kept and defended ; and also, some one hill or hills 
on Dorchester Neck b© likewise secured : therefore, resolved, 


unanimously, that it be recommended to the council of war, that 
the above mentioned Bunker's Hill be maintained, by sufficient 
forces being posted there ; and as the particular situation of 
Dorchester Neck is unknown to this committee, they desire that 
the council of war take and pursue such steps, respecting the 
same, as to them shall appear to be for the security of this colony. 

The committee then appointed Colonel Palmer and Captain 
White to join with a committee from the council of war, and pro- 
ceed to the Roxbury camp for consultation. Also to communicate 
the above resolve to the council. To secure secresy, this impor- 
tant resolve was not recorded until the nineteenth of June. 

Charlestown in 1775 contained about four hundred buildings 
and a population of between two and three thousand. The 
natural features of the Peninsula have been somewhat altered by 
the inroads of improvement. It is about a mile in length from 
north to south, and its greatest breadth, next to Boston, is about 
half a mile, whence it gradually becomes narrower until it makes 
an isthmus, called the Neck, connecting it with the main land. 
The Mystic River, about half a mile wide, is on the east side ; 
and on the west side is Charles River, which here forms a large 
bay, — a part of which, by a dam stretching in the direction 
of Cobble Hill, is a mill-pond. In 1775 the Neck, an artificial 
causeway, was so low as to be frequently overflowed by the 
tides. The communication with Boston was by a ferry, where 
Charles River Bridge is, and with Maiden by another, called 
Penny Ferry, where Maiden Bridge is. Near the Neck, on the 
main land, there was a large green, known as The Common. 
Two roads ran by it, — one in a westerly direction, as now, by 
Cobble Hill, (McLean Asylum,) Prospect Hill, Inman's Woods, 
to Cambridge Common ; the other in a northerly direction, by 
Ploughed Hill, (Mount Benedict,) Winter Hill, to Medford, — the 
direct road to West Cambridge not having been laid out in 1775. 
Bunker Hill begins at the isthmus, and rises gradually for about 
three hundred yards, forming a round, smooth hill, sloping on two 
sides towards the water, and connected by a ridge of ground on 
the south with the heights now known as Breed's Hill. This was 
a well known public place, — the name "Bunker Hill" being 
found in the town records, and in deeds, from an early period. 
Not so with " Breed's Hill," for it is not named in any descrip- 
tion of streets previous to 1775, and appears to have been called 


after the owners of the pastures into which it was divided, rather 
than by the common name of Breed's Hill. Thus, Monument- 
square was called Russell's Pasture ; Breed's Pasture lay further 
south ; Green's Pasture was at the head of Green street. 1 The 
easterly and westerly sides of this height were steep ; on the 
east side, at its base, were brick-kilns, clay-pits, and much 
sloughy land ; on the west side, at the base, was the most settled 
part of the town. Moulton's Point, a name coeval with the 
settlement of the town, constituted the south-east corner of the 
peninsula. A part of this tract formed what is called, in all the 
accounts of the battle of Bunker Hill, " Morton's Hill." Bunker 
Hill was one hundred and ten feet high, Breed's Hill sixty-two 
feet, and Morton's Hill thirty-five feet. The principal street 
of the peninsula was Main-street, which extended from the neck 
to the ferry. A highway from sixteen feet to thirty feet wide ran 
over Bunker Hill to Moulton's Point, and one connecting with it 
wound round Breed's Hill. The easterly portions of these hills 
were used chiefly for hay ground and pasturing ; the westerly 
portions contained fine orchards and gardens. 

1 This hill is called Green's Hill in a British description of the town 
in 1775. It has been often remarked that Breed's Hill has been robbed 
of the glory that justly belongs to it. It should be remembered, how- 
ever, that the rail fence was at the base of Bunker Hill, and if not the 
great post of the day, here a large part of the battle was fought. 
Besides, the name Breed's Hill will not do near so well for patriotic 
purposes. Thus, in the " Declaration of Independence," a poem, the 
author writes : — 

Dun clouds of smoke ! a vaunt ! — Mount Breed, all hail ! 
There glory circled patriot Warren's head. 



1775. Breed's Hill occupied. — Cannonade of the British. — They land 
at Moulton's Point. — American defences. — Bunker Hill Battle. 

On Friday, the sixteenth of June, the commanders of the 
army, in accordance with the recommendations of the committee 
of safety, took measures to fortify Bunker Hill. 1 Orders were 
issued for Prescott's, Fry's, and Bridge's regiments, and a fatigue 
party of two hundred Connecticut troops, to parade at 6 o'clock 
in the evening, with all the intrenching tools in the Cambridge 

!The account of the Battle of Bunker Hill, including documents 
relating to it, fills about an hundred and thirty page3 of the " Siege 
of Boston." The greater part of the notes, some of the text, and all 
of the documents, have been here omitted. A chronological notice of 
the authorities will be found in the appendix of that work. 

The plan of the battle is by a British officer, Lieutenant Page, a 
notice of whom will be found in the subsequent pages. The ground- 
work of it is from an actual survey by the celebrated British engineer, 
Capt. Montresor. It is the only plan of Charlestown of so early a date. 
It is on the same scale as that k published by Felton and Parker, in 1848, 
and the plans will be found to agree as to Main street, Bunker Hill 
street and other streets. The engraving for this work is the first Amer- 
ican engraving. It is of the same size as the British engraving, and as 
to the outlines — streets, houses, trees, fences, line of fire and letter- 
ing — is an exact copy. It will be observed that the hills are not named 
correctly — Bunker Hill should be Breed's Hill. This plan was first 
published in 1776 or 1777, and the plate of it, with a few alterations in 
the lettering, was used by Stedman, in 1794, — without, however, any 
credit being given either to Montresor or to Page. Another plan of 
the battle was drawn by another British officer, Henry D' Bernicre. 
The groundwork is certainly not so correct as that of Page. I have 
seen an old MS. copy of this plan, slightly varying in the streets from 
the engraved copies. This plan was first engraved in this country, in 
1818, for the Analectic Magazine ; and also for the Port Folio, with 
corrections by General Dearborn, in red lines. This plan forms the 
basis of Colonel Swett's sketch of the battle. 

The view of the Town is engraved from an original MS. of 1775, 
found among a collection of MS. British plans of the battles of the rev- 
olution. I am indebted to Henry Stevens, Esq., for the use of it. 

There are, in publications issued during the revolution, several pic- 
tures of the Battle, representing the attack on the Redoubt and the 
burning of the town. They are, however, so crude as to be of little 
value. The same remark may be made of the plans of the town to be 
seen on some of the maps of 1775. They are more curious than 


camp. They were also ordered to furnish themselves with packs 
and blankets, and with provisions for twenty-four hours. Also, 
Captain Samuel Gridley's company of artillery, of forty-nine men 
and two field-pieces, was ordered to parade. The Connecticut 
men, draughted from several companies, were put under the gal- 
lant Thomas Knowlton, a captain in General Putnam's regiment. 
The detachment was placed under the command of Colonel 
William Prescott, of Pepperell, who had orders in writing, from 
General Ward, to proceed that evening to Bunker Hill, build 
fortifications to be planned by Col. Richard Gridley, the chief 
engineer, and defend them until he should be relieved, — the order 
not to be communicated until the detachment had passed Charles- 
town Neck. The regiments and fatigue party ordered to parade 
would have constituted a force of at least fourteen hundred : but 
only three hundred of Prescott's regiment, a part of Bridge's, 
and a part of Frye's under Lieutenant Colonel Bricket, the artil- 
lery, and two hundred Connecticut troops, were ordered to march. 
Hence the number may be fairly estimated at twelve hundred. 
It was understood that reinforcements and refreshments should be 
sent to Colonel Prescott on the following morning. 

This detachment paraded on Cambridge Common at the time ap- 
pointed ; and after a fervent and impressive prayer by President 
Langdon, of Harvard College, it commenced, about nine o'clock, 
its memorable march for Charlestown. Colonel Prescott was at 
its head, arrayed in a simple and appropriate uniform, with a blue 
coat and a three-cornered hat. Two sergeants, carrying dark 
lanterns, were a few paces in front of him, and the intrenching 
tools followed in the rear. Col. Gridley accompanied the troops. 
They were enjoined to maintain the strictest silence, and were 
not aware of the object of the expedition until they halted at 
Charlestown Neck. Here Major Brooks joined them, and prob- 
ably General Putnam and another general. Here Captain Nut- 
ting, with his company and ten of the Connecticut troops, was 
ordered to proceed to the lower part of the town as a guard. 
The main body then marched over Bunker Hill, and again halted 
for some time. Here Colonel Prescott called the field officers 
around him, and communicated his orders. A long consultation 
took place in relation to the place to be fortified. The veteran 
Colonel Gridley, and two generals, one of whom was General 
Putnam, took part in it. The order was explicit as to Bunker Hill, 


and yet a position nearer Boston, now known as Breed's Hill, 
seemed better adapted to the objects of the expedition, and better 
suited the daring spirit of the officers. It was contended, how- 
ever, that works ought not to be commenced at this place until 
Bunker Hill had been fortified, in order to cover, in case of ne- 
cessity, a retreat. The moments were precious, and the engi- 
neer strongly urged the importance of a speedy decision. On 
the pressing importunity of one of the generals, it was concluded 
to proceed to Breed's Hill. 1 At the same time it was determined 
that works should be erected on Bunker Hill. When the detach- 
ment reached Breed's Hill, the packs were thrown off, the guns 
were stacked, Colonel Grid ley marked out the plan of a fortifi- 
cation, tools were distributed, and about twelve o'clock the men 
began to work. Colonel Prescott immediately detached Captain 
Maxwell, of his own regiment, and a party, with orders to patrol 
the shore in the lower part of the town, near the old ferry, and 
watch the motions of the enemy during the night. General Put- 
nam, after the men were at labor, returned to Cambridge. 

Anxious to the patriot laborers were the watches of that star- 
light night. The shore in Boston, opposite to them, was belted 
by a chain of sentinels, while nearer still, British men-of-war 
were moored in the waters around them, and commanded t he 
peninsula. The Falcon was off Moulton's Point ; the Lively lay 
opposite the present navy yard ; the Somerset was at the ferry ; 
the Glasgow was near Cragie's Bridge ; and the Cerberus, and 
several floating batteries, were within gunshot. This proximity 
to an enemy required great caution ; and a thousand men, accus- 

1 The order was explicit as to Bunker Hill, and the Committee of 
Safety's account says, " by some mistake," Breed's Hill was marked out 
for the intrenchment. In Gray's letter, July 12, 1775, it is stated, " that 
the engineer and two generals went on to the hill at night, and recon- 
noitred the ground ; that one general and the engineer were of opinion 
we ought not to intrench on Charlestown Hill (Breed's Hill) till we had 
thrown up some works on the north and south ends of Bunker Hill, to 
cover our men in their retreat, if that should happen ; but on the pres- 
sing importunity of the other general officer, it was consented to begin 
as was done." That the best position was Breed's Hill, Judge Prescott 
says, was " Colonel Gridley's opinion, and the other field officers who 
were consulted, — they thought it came within his (Prescott's) orders. 
There was not then the distinction between Bunker Hill and Breed's 
that has since been made." Colonel Swett remarks there could be 
no mistake, and that the account meant to say, delicately, the order to 
fortify Bunker Hill was not complied with. 


tomed to handling the spade, worked with great diligence and 
silence on the intrenchments ; while the cry of " All's well," 
heard at intervals through the night by the patrols, gave the 
assurance that they were not discovered. Colonel Prescott, ap- 
prehensive of an attack before the works were in such a condition 
as to cover the men, went down twice to the margin of the river 
with Major Brooks to reconnoitre, and was delighted to hear the 
watch on board the ships drowsily repeat the usual cry. The 
last time, a little before daylight, finding every thing quiet, he 
recalled the party under Maxwell to the hill. 

The intrenchments, by the well-directed labor of the night, 
were raised about six feet high, and were first seen at early 
dawn, on the seventeenth of June, by the sailors on board the 
men-of-war. The captain of the Lively, without waiting for 
orders, put a spring on her cable and opened a fire on the 
American works ; and the sound of the guns, breaking the calm- 
ness of a fine summer's morning, alarmed the British camp, 
and summoned the population of Boston and vicinity to gaze 
upon the novel spectacle. Admiral Graves almost immediately 
ordered the firing to cease ; but in a short time, it was re- 
newed, by authority, from a battery of six guns and howitzers, 
from Copp's Hill, in Boston, and from the shipping. 1 The Ameri- 
cans, protected by their works, were not at first injured by the 
balls, and they kept steadily at labor, strengthening the intrench- 
ments, and making inside of them platforms of wood and earth, 
to stand upon when they should be called upon to fire. 

Early in the day, a private was killed by a cannon ball, when 
some of the men left the hill. To inspire confidence, Colonel 
Prescott mounted the parapet and walked leisurely around it, 
inspecting the works, giving directions to the officers, and en- 
couraging the men by approbation, or amusing them with humor. 
One of his captains, understanding his motive, followed his ex- 
ample while superintending the labors of his company. This 

1 The following are the vessels that took part in the cannonade dur- 
ing the day : — 

Somerset, 68 guns, 520 men. Captain Edward Le Cras. 
Cerberus, 86 " " Chads. 

Glasgow, 24 " 130 " " William Maltby. 

Lively, 20 " 130 " " Thomas Bishop. 

Falcon, " Linzee. 

Symmetry, 20 " 


had the intended effect. The men became indifferent to the 
cannonade, or received the balls with repeated cheers. The tall, 
commanding form of Prescott was observed by General Gage, as 
he was reconnoitring the Americans through his glass, who in- 
quired of Councillor Willard, near him, " Who the person was 
who appeared to command?" Willard recognized his brother- 
in-law. " Will he fight?" again inquired Gage. "Yes, sir; he 
is an old soldier, and will fight as long as a drop of blood remains 
in his veins !" " The works must be carried," was the reply. 

As the day advanced, the heat became oppressive. Many of 
the men, inexperienced in war, had neglected to comply with the 
order respecting provisions, while no refreshments had arrived. 
Hence there was much suffering from want of food and drink, as 
well as from heat and fatigue ; and this produced discontent and 
murmurs. The officers urged Colonel Prescott to send a request 
to General Ward for them to be relieved by other troops. The 
colonel promptly told them, in reply, that he never would con- 
sent to their being relieved. " The enemy," he said, " would 
not dare to attack them ; and if they did, would be defeated ; the 
men who had raised the works were the best able to defend them ; 
already they had learned to despise the fire of the enemy ; they 
had the merit of the labor, and should have the honor of the 

Soon after this, the enemy were observed to be in motion in 
Boston. General Gage had called a council of war early in the 
morning. As it was clear that the Americans were gaining 
strength every hour, it was the unanimous opinion that it was ne- 
cessary to change the plan of operations that had been agreed 
upon, and drive them from their newly erected works, though 
different views prevailed as to the manner in which it should be 
attempted. Generals Clinton and Grant, and a majority of the 
council, were in favor of embarking a force at the common, in 
Boston, and under the protection of their batteries, landing in the 
rear of the Americans, at Charlestovvn Neck, to cut off their re- 
treat. General Gage opposed this plan as unmilitary and hazard- 
ous. It would place his troops between two armies, — one strongly 
fortified, and the other superior in numbers, — and thus expose it 
to destruction. It was decided to make the attack in front, and or- 
ders were immediately issued for the troops to parade. It was the 
consequent preparation, — dragoons galloping from their places of 


encampment, and the rattling of artillery carriages, — that was 
observed at the American lines. Colonel Prescott, about nine 
o'clock, called a council of war. The officers represented that 
the men, worn down by the labors of the night, in want even of 
necessary refreshments, were dissatisfied, and in no condition for 
action, and again urged that they should be relieved, or, at least, 
that Colonel Prescott should send for reinforcements and pro- 
visions. The colonel, though decided against the proposition to 
relieve them, agreed to send a special messenger to General Ward 
for additional troops and supplies. The officers were satisfied, 
and Major John Brooks, afterwards Governor Brooks, was dis- 
patched for this purpose to head quarters, where he arrived about 
ten o'clock. 

General Ward, early in the morning, had been urged by Gen- 
eral Putnam to send reinforcements to Colonel Prescott, but was 
so doubtful of its expediency that he ordered only one-third of 
Stark's regiment to march to Charlestown ; and after receiving 
the message by Major Brooks, he refused to weaken further the 
main army at Cambridge, until the enemy had more definitely 
revealed his intentions. He judged that General Gage would 
make his principal attack at Cambridge, to destroy the stores. 
The committee of safety, then in session, was consulted. One 
of its most active members, Richard Devens, strongly urged that 
aid should be sent, and his opinion partially prevailed. With its 
advice, General Ward, about eleven o'clock, ordered the whole 
of the regiments of Colonels Stark and Read, of New Hamp- 
shire, to reinforce Colonel Prescott. Orders, also, were issued 
for the recall of the companies stationed at Chelsea. 

During the forenoon a flood tide enabled the British to bring 
three or four floating batteries to play on the intrenchments, when 
the fire became more severe. The men-of-war at intervals dis- 
charged their guns, — the Glasgow, one account states, continued 
to fire all the morning. The only return made to this terrific 
cannonade was a few ineffectual shot from a cannon in the corner 
of the redoubt. About eleven o'clock the men had mostly ceased 
labor on the works ; the intrenching tools had been piled in the 
rear, and all were anxiously awaiting the arrival of refreshments 
and reinforcements. No works, however, had been commenced 
on Bunker Hill, regarded as of great importance in case of a 
retreat. General Putnam, who was on his way to the heights 


when Major Brooks was going to Cambridge, rode on horseback 
to the redoubt, " and told Colonel Prescott," — as General Heath 
first relates the circumstance — " that the intrenching tools must 
be sent off, or they would be lost : the colonel replied, that if he 
sent any of the men away with the tools, not one of them would 
return : to this the general answered, they shall every man re- 
turn. A large party was then sent off with the tools, and not 
one of them returned : in this instance the colonel was the best 
judge of human nature." A large part of the tools were carried 
no further than Bunker Hill, where, by General Putnam's order, 
the men began to throw up a breastwork. Most of them fell into 
the hands of the enemy. 

In the mean time General Gage had completed his prepara- 
tions to attack the intrenchments. He ordered the ten oldest 
companies of grenadiers and light-infantry, (exclusive of two 
regiments, the 35th and 49th, just arrived,) and the 5th and 38th 
regiments, to parade at half-past eleven o'clock, with ammunition, 
blankets, and provisions, and march by files to the Long Wharf. 
The 52d and 43d regiments, with the remaining companies of 
grenadiei's and light-infantry, received similar orders to parade 
and march to the North Battery. At the same time the 47th 
regiment and 1st battalion of marines were directed to proceed 
to the battery after the former should embark, and there await 
orders. The remainder of the troops were directed to hold them- 
selves in readiness to march at a moment's warning. The 
strictest attention to discipline was enjoined. Whoever should 
quit the ranks, or engage in plunder, was threatened with exe- 
cution without mercy. i This force was put under the command 
of General Howe, who had under him Brigadier-general Pigot, 
and some of the most distinguished officers in Boston. He was 
ordered to drive the Americans from their works. 2 

About twelve o'clock the several regiments marched through 
the streets of Boston to their places of embarkation, and two 
ships of war moved up Charles River to join the others in firing 
on the works. Suddenly the redoubled roar of the cannon an- 

1 This account is taken from Adjutant Waller's (British) Orderly 
Book. A British letter, June 25, states that the troops embarked " at 
the Long Wharf, and at the North Battery." 2 Stedman's History, vol. 
I, p. 126. I prefer the authority of the orderly book, and of contempo- 
raries, in relation to the embarkation, to others. 


nounced that the crisis was at hand. The Falcon and the Lively 
swept the low grounds in front of Breed's Hill, to dislodge any 
parties of troops that might be posted there to oppose a landing ; 
the Somerset and two floating batteries at the ferry, and the bat- 
tery on Copp's Hill, poured shot upon the American works; the 
Glasgow frigate, and the Symmetry transport, moored further up 
Charles River, raked the Neck. 1 The troops embarked at the 
Long Wharf and at the North Battery ; and when a blue flag 
was displayed as a signal, the fleet, with field-pieces in the lead- 
ing barges, moved towards Charlestown. The sun was shining 
in meridian splendor ; and the scarlet uniforms, the glistening 
armor, the brazen artillery, the regular movement of the boats, 
the flashes of fire, and the belchings of smoke, formed a spectacle 
brilliant and imposing. The army landed in good order at Moul- 
ton's Point, about one o'clock, without the slightest molestation, 
and immediately formed in three lines. General Howe, after 
reconnoitring the American works, applied to General Gage for 
a reinforcement ; and, while waiting for it to arrive, many of his 
troops quietly dined. It proved to many a brave man his last 

When the intelligence of the landing of the British troops 
reached Cambridge, there was suddenly great noise and confusion. 
The bells were rung, the drums beat to arms, and adjutants rode 
hurriedly from point to point, with orders for troops to march and 
oppose the enemy. General Ward reserved his own regiment, 
Patterson's, Gardner's, and part of Bridge's regiments, to be pre- 
pared for any attack on Cambridge, but ordered the remainder of 
the Massachusetts forces to Charlestown. General Putnam or- 
dered on the remainder of the Connecticut troops. Colonel 
Gardner's regiment was directed to march to Patterson's station, 
opposite Prospect Hill. A large part of these forces, owing to 
various causes, failed to reach the lines. 

1 Joseph Pearce stated : " It was the heaviest cannonade previous to 
the landing." A Boston letter, June 25, says : The landing was cov- 
ered by a heavy fire from the Lively and another man-of-war stationed 
off the North Battery, a large sloop and two floating batteries at 
Charlestown Ferry, the battery from Copp's Hill, a transport mounting 
twenty guns, lying a little higher up, and the Glasgow man-of-war." 
A British letter, June 23, states : " At the landing several attempted 
to run away, and five actually took to their heels to join the Americans, 
but were presently brought back, and two of them were hung up in 
terrorem to the rest" 


About two o'clock in the afternoon intense anxiety prevailed at 
the intrenchments on Breed's Hill. The patriot band who raised 
them had witnessed the brilliant landing of the British veterans, 
and the return of the barges to Boston. They saw troops again 
filling the boats, and felt not without apprehension that a battle 
was inevitable. They knew the contest would be an unequal - 
one, — that of raw militia against the far-famed regulars, — and 
they grew impatient for the promised reinforcements. But no 
signs appeared that additional troops were on the way to support 
them, and even the supply of refreshments that reached them 
was so scanty that it served only to tantalize their wants. 1 It is 
not strange, therefore, the idea was entertained that they had 
been rashly, if not treacherously, led into danger, and that they 
were to be left to their own resources for their defence. This 
idea, however, must have been dispelled, as characters who had 
long been identified with the patriot cause, who were widely 
known and widely beloved, appeared on the field, and assured 
them that aid was at hand. Such, among others, were Generals 
Warren and Pomeroy, who took stations in the ranks as volun- 
teers. The enthusiastic cheers with which they were greeted 
indicated how much their presence was valued. General Putnam 
also, who had the confidence of the whole army, again rode on 
about this time, with the intention of remaining to share their 
labors and peril. He continued in Charlestown through the after- 
noon, giving orders to reinforcements as they arrived on the field, 
cheering and animating the men, and rendering valuable service. 
The movements of the British, along the margin of Mystic 
River, indicated an intention of flanking the Americans, and of 
surrounding the redoubt. To prevent this, Colonel Prescott 
ordered the artillery with two field-pieces, and Captain Knowlton 
with the Connecticut troops, to leave the intrenchments, march 

1 Some of the depositions state that barrels of beer arrived. MS. 
petitions of 1775 state that teams were impressed to carry on provis- 
ions. Peter Brown, a private, June 25, 1775, wrote to his mother : 
" The danger we were in made us think there was treachery, and that 
we were brought here to be all slain. And I must and will venture to 
say there was treachery, oversight, or presumption, in the conduct of 
our officers." 

Warren said that 2000 reinforcements would be down in twenty 
minutes — he came by them. Said he came to promote or encourage a 
good cause. — J. Pearce. 


down the hill, and oppose the enemy's right wing. Captain 
Knowlton took a position near the base of Bunker Hill, six hun- 
dred feet in the rear of the redoubt, behind a fence, one half of 
which was stone, with two rails of wood. He then made, a little 
distance in front of this, another parallel line of fence, and filled 
the space between them with the newly cut grass lying in the 
fields. While Captain Knowlton's party was doing this, between 
two and three o'clock, Colonel John Stark, with his regiment, 
arrived at the Neck, which was then enfiladed by a galling fire 
from the enemy's ships and batteries. Captain Dearborn, who 
was by the side of the colonel, suggested to him the expediency 
of quickening his step across ; but Stark replied, " One fresh 
man in action is worth ten fatigued ones," and marched steadily 
over. General Putnam ordered part of these troops to labor on 
the works begun on Bunker Hill, while Colonel Stark, after an 
animated address to his men, led the remainder to the position 
Captain Knowlton had taken, and they aided in extending the line 
of the fence breastwork. Colonel Read's regiment, about the 
same time, left its quarters at Charlestown Neck, marched over 
Bunker Hill, and took position near Colonel Stark, at the rail 

The defences of the Americans, at three in the afternoon, 
were still in a rude, unfinished state. The redoubt on the spot 
where the monument stands was about eight rods square. Its 
strongest side, the front, facing the settled part of the town, was 
made with projecting angles, and protected the south side of the 
hill. The eastern side commanded an extensive field. The 
north side had an open passage-way. A breastwork, beginning 
a short distance from the redoubt, and on a line with its eastern 
side, extended about one hundred yards north to a slough ; and a 
sally-port, between the south end of the breastwork and the re- 
doubt, was protected by a blind. These works were raised about 
six feet from the level of the ground, and had platforms of wood, 
or steps made of earth, for the men to stand on when they should 
fire. The rail fence has been already described. Its south 
corner was about two hundred yards, on a diagonal ,line, in the 
rear of the north corner of the breastwork. This line was slightly 
protected ; a part of it, however — about one hundred yards — 
between the slough and the rail fence, was open to the approach 
of infantry. It was the weakest part of the defences. On the 


right of the redoubt, along a cartway, a fence was made similar 
to the one on the left. The redoubt and breastwork constituted 
a good defence against cannon and musketry, but the fences were 
hardly more than the shadow of protection. 1 

These defences were lined nearly in the following manner. 
The original detachment, under Colonel Prescott, except the 
Connecticut troops, were at the redoubt and breastwork. They 
were joined, just previous to the action, by portions of Massachu- 
setts regiments, under Colonels Brewer, Nixon, Woodbridge, 
Little, and Major Moore, and one company of artillery — Calen- 
der's. General Warren took post in the redoubt. Captain Grid- 
ley's artillery company, after discharging a few ineffectual shot 
from a corner of the redoubt towards Copp's Hill, 2 moved to the 
exposed position between the breastwork and rail fence, where it 
was joined by the other artillery company, under Captain Callen- 
der. Perkins' company, of Little's regiment, and a few other 
troops, Captain Nutting's company — recalled from Charlestown 
after the British landed — and part of Warner's company, lined 
the cartway on the right of the redoubt. The Connecticut troops, 
under Captain Knowlton, the New Hampshire forces, under Col- 
onels Stark and Reed, and a few Massachusetts troops, were at 
the rail fence. General Putnam was here when the action com- 
menced, and General Pomeroy, armed with a musket, served 
here as a volunteer. Three companies — Captain Wheeler's, of 
Doolittle's regiment, Captain Crosby's, of Reed's regiment, and 
a company from Woodbridge's regiment — were stationed in 
Main-street, at the base of Breed's Hill, and constituted the ex- 
treme right of the Americans. Though this statement may be 

1 Page's and Bernier's Plans ; Committee of Safety's Account ; Depo- 
sitions ; Swett's History, pp. 20, 27 ; Dearborn's Account. Some who 
were in the battle state that the diagonal line between the breastwork 
and rail fence Avas entirely without protection, — others state that it was 
slightly protected. Page represents the same defence as at the rail 
fence ; Bernier has here three angular figures, which, though not ex- 
plained on the plan, indicate defences. Chester's letter confirms the 
statement in the text, and the British plans. 

In a report in Mass. Archives, Captain Aaron Brown is named as 
having " behaved very gallantly," — erected the platforms, and behaved 
with courage and good conduct in the whole affair." 

2 Seven or eight shot, — one went through an old house, another 
through a fence, and the rest stuck in the face of Copp's Hill. — Letter, 
July 5. 



in the main correct, yet, such is the lack of precision in the 
authorities, that accuracy cannot be arrived at. 1 The Massachu- 
setts reinforcements, as they came on to the field, appear to have 
marched to the redoubt, and were directed to take the most ad- 
vantageous positions. In doing this, parts of regiments, and even 
companies, that came on together, broke their ranks, divided, and 
subsequently fought, in various parts of the field, in platoons or 
as individuals, rather than under regular commands. 

Meantime the main body of the British troops, formed in bril- 
liant array at Moulton's Point, continued to wait quietly for the 
arrival of the reinforcements. It was nearly three o'clock when 
the barges returned. They landed at the Old Battery, and at 
Mardlin's ship-yard, near the entrance to the navy-yard, the 47th 
regiment, the 1st battalion of marines, and several companies of 
grenadiers and light-infantry. 2 They, or the most of them, did 
not join the troops at Moulton's Point, but marched directly 
towards the redoubt. There had now landed above three thou- 
sand troops.s 

General Howe, just previous to the action, addressed his army 
in the following manner : — 

" Gentlemen, — I am very happy in having the honor of com- 
manding so fine a body of men ; I do not in the least doubt but 
that you will behave like Englishmen, and as becometh good 

" If the enemy will not come from their intrenchments, we 

*It is not possible to ascertain, from the known authorities, precisely 
the number of reinforcements that arrived on the field either before the 
action commenced, or in season to engage the enemy. Colonel Swett 
states, that previous to the action, Colonels Brewer, Nixon, Wood- 
bridge, and Major Moore, " brought on their troops, each about 300 
men ;" also, that " Colonel Little arrived with his troops," and that 
Callender's artillery and Ford's company, of Bridge's regiment, arrived. 
The accounts of Little's regiment will serve to show the want of pre- 
cision on this point. It consisted, (MS. returns,) June 15, of 456 men ; 
one company was in Gloucester, one in Ipswich, one at Lechmere's 
Point, and some at West Cambridge. Three companies — Perkins',, 
Wade's, and Warner's — probably marched on, under their colonel. 
They scattered, and part went to the redoubt, part to the cartway south 
of it, part to the breastwork, and some to the rail fence, (MS. depo- 
sitions.) One company, Lnnt's, (MS. depositions, and Swett, p. 46,) did 
not arrive until near the close of the battle. Similar confusion exists 
in the accounts of other regiments. 

2 Stedman's History ; Gage's Account ; Letter, June 25, 1775. 

3 Gordon says " near 3000 ;" contemporary MSS. say 3300. 


must drive them out, at all events, otherwise the town of Boston 
will be set on fire by them. 

"I shall not desire one of you to go a step further than where 
I go myself at your head. 

" Remember, gentlemen, we have no recourse to any resources 
if we lose Boston, but to go on board our ships, which will be 
very disagreeable to us all." 1 

Before General Howe moved from his first position, he sent 
out strong flank guards, and directed his field-pieces to play on 
the American lines. The fire from Copp's Hill, from the ships, 
and from the batteries, now centred on the intrenchments ; while 
a furious cannonade and bombardment from Boston occupied the 
attention of the right wing of the American army, at Roxbury. 
The fire upon the lines was but feebly returned from Gridley's 
and Callender's field-pieces. Gridley's guns were soon disabled, 
and he drew them to the rear ; while Callender, alleging that his 
cartridges were two large for his pieces, withdrew to Bunker 
Hill. Here he met General Putnam, who ordered him to return 
to the lines. Callender did not obey the general, and was soon 
deserted by his men. About this time Captain Ford's company, 
of Bridge's regiment, came on to the field, and, at the pressing 
request of General Putnam, drew the deserted pieces to the rail 
fence. Mean time, Colonel Prescott detached Lieutenant Colonel 
Robinson and Major Wood, each with a party, to flank the 
enemy. Both behaved with courage and prudence. No details 
are given, however, of their service. Captain Benjamin Walker, 
with a few men, probably of one of these parties, met with the 
British near the navy-yard, and fired upon them from the cover 
of buildings and fences. On being driven in, he passed with a 
few of the party to their right flank, along the margin of Mystic 
River, where he was wounded and taken prisoner. The greater 
part of his men, under a heavy fire, succeeded in regaining the 

The general discharge of artillery was intended to cover the 
advance of the British columns. They moved forward in two 

1 Clark's Narrative. Clark was a lieutenant in the marines. He 
says, after giving this address : " We then began to proceed to action, 
by marching with a quick step up the precipice that led to the pro- 
vincial army." 



divisions, — General Howe with the right wing, to penetrate the 
American line at the rail fence, and cut off a retreat from the 
redoubt, — General Pigot with the left wing, to storm the breast- 
work and redoubt. The artillery, after playing a short time, 

ceased, and General Howe was told that twelve pound balls had 
been sent with which to load six-pounders, when he ordered the 
pieces to be charged with grape. In advancing, however, the 
artillery was soon impeded by the miry ground at the base of the 
hill, and took post near the brick-kilns, whence its balls produced 


but little effect. The troops moved forward slowly, for they were 
burdened with knapsacks full of provisions, obstructed by the tall 
grass and the fences, and heated by a burning sun ; but they felt 
unbounded confidence in their strength, regarded their antagonists 
with scorn, and expected an easy victory. The Americans 
coolly waited their approach. Their officers ordered them to re- 
serve their fire until the British were within ten or twelve rods, 
and then to wait until the word was given. " Powder was scarce, 
and must not be wasted," they said ; " Fire low ;" " Aim at the 
waistbands ;" " Wait until you see the white of their eyes ;" 
" Aim at the handsome coats ;" " Pick off the commanders." 

General Pigot's division consisted of the 5th, 38th, 43d, 47th, 
52d regiments, and the marines, under Major Pitcairn. The 38th 
first took a position behind a stone wall, and being joined by the 
5th, marched up the hill. The 47th and the marines moved from 
the battery where they landed directly towards the redoubt. The 
43d and 52d advanced in front of the breastwork. The troops 
kept firing as they approached the lines. When Colonel Prescott 
saw the enemy in motion, he went round the works to encourage 
the men, and assured them that the red coats would never reach 
the redoubt if they would observe his directions. The advancing 
columns, however, having got within gunshot, a few of the Amer- 
icans could not resist the temptation to return their fire without 
waiting for orders. Prescott indignantly remonstrated at this 
disobedience, and appealed to their often expressed confidence in 
him as their leader ; while his officers seconded his exertions, 
and some of them ran round the top of the parapet and kicked 
up the guns. At length the British troops reached the prescribed 
distance, and the order was given to fire ; when there was a 
simultaneous discharge from the redoubt and breastwork, that did 
terrible execution on the British ranks. But it was received with 
veteran firmness, and for a few minutes was sharply returned. 
The Americans, being protected by their works, suffered but 
little ; but their murderous balls literally strewed the ground with 
the dead and wounded of the enemy. General Pigot was obliged 
to order a retreat, when the exulting shout of victory rose from 
the American lines. 

General Howe, in the mean time, led the right wing against 
the rail fence. The light-infantry moved along the shore of 
Mystic River, to turn the extreme left of the American line, 


while the grenadiers advanced directly in front. The Americans 
first opened on them with their field-pieces (Callender's) with 
great effect, some of the discharges being directed by Putnam ; 
and when the advancing troops deployed into line, a few, as at 
the redoubt, fired without waiting for the word, when Putnam 
hastened to the spot, and threatened to cut down the next man 
who disobeyed. This drew the enemy's fire, which they con- 
tinued with the regularity of troops on parade ; but their balls 
passed over the heads of the Americans. At length the officers 
gave the word, when the fire from the American line was given 
with great effect. Many were marksmen, intent on cutting down 
the British officers ; and when one was in sight, they exclaimed, 
" There ! See that officer !" " Let us have a shot at him !" — 
when two or three would fire at the same moment. They used 
the fence as a rest for their pieces, and the bullets were true to 
their message. The companies were cut up with terrible sever- 
ity, and so great was the carnage, that the columns, a few mo- 
ments before so proud and firm in their array, were disconcerted, 
partly broke, and then retreated. Many of the Americans were 
in favor of pursuing them, and some, with exulting huzzas, 
jumped over the fence for this purpose, but were prevented by 
the prudence of their officers. 1 

And now moments of joy succeeded the long hours of toil, 
anxiety, and peril. The American volunteer saw the veterans of 
England fly before his fire, and felt a new confidence in himself. 
The result was obtained, too, with but little loss on his side. 2 

1 Chester ; Dearborn ; Capt. Mann, of Reed's regiment, in his excel- 
lent account, (MS.,) agrees with Chester : " During the engagement, a 
portion of the company twice past the fence huzzaing, supposing, at 
the time, that we had driven the enemy." 

A British letter, July 5, 1775, says : " Our light-infantry were served 
up in companies against the grass fence, without being able to pene- 
trate ; — indeed, how could we penetrate ? Most of our grenadiers and 
light-infantry, the moment of presenting themselves, lost three-fourths, 
and many nine-tenths of their men. Some had only eight and nine 
men a company left ; some only three, four, and five." Another British 
letter says : " It was found to be the strongest post that was ever occu- 
pied by any set of men." 

2 Judge Prescott's Memoir : — " Colonel Prescott said they (the 
British) had commenced firing too soon, and generally fired over the 
heads of his troops ; and as they were partially covered by the works, 
but few were killed or wounded." 


Colonel Prescott mingled freely among his troops, praised their 
good conduct, and congratulated them on their success. He felt 
confident that another attack would soon be made, and he re- 
newed his caution to reserve the fire until he gave the command. 
He found his men in high spirits, and elated by the retreat. In 
their eyes the regulars were no longer invincible. General Put- 
nam rode to Bunker Hill and to the rear of it, to urge on rein- 
forcements. Some had arrived at Charlestown Neck, but were 
deterred from crossing it by the severe fire that raked it. Por- 
tions of regiments had reached Bunker Hill, where they scat- 
tered. Colonel Gerrish was here, and confessed that he was ex- 
hausted. General Putnam endeavored to rally these troops. He 
used entreaty and command, and offered to lead them into action, 
but without much effect. It is doubtful whether any considerable 
reinforcement reached the line of defence during the short inter- 
val that elapsed before a second attack was made by the British 
troops. 1 

General Howe in a short time rallied his troops, and immedi- 
ately ordered another assault. They marched in the same order 
as before, and continued to fire as they approached the lines. 
But, in addition to the previous obstacles, they were obliged to 
step over the bodies of their fallen countrymen. 2 The artillery 
did more service in this attack. It moved along the narrow road? 
between the tongue of land and Breed's Hill, until within three 
hundred yards of the rail fence, and nearly on a line with the 
breastwork, when it opened a severe fire to cover the advance of 
the infantry. The American officers, grown confident in the 
success of their manoeuvre, ordered their men to withhold their 
fire until the enemy were within five or six rods of the works. 3 

1 " In the interval between the first and second attack of the British 
on our lines, he (General Putnam) rode back to Bunker Hill, and in the 
rear of it, to urge on reinforcements," — " Found part of Gerrish's regi- 
ment there, with their colonel." — Daniel Putnam's Letter, Oct. 19, 
1825, MSS., confirmed by Samuel Basset, 1818, and others. "The men 
that went to intrenching over night were in the warmest of the battle, 
and by all accounts they fought most manfully. They had got hardened 
to the noise of cannon ; but those that came up as recruits were evi- 
dently most terribly frightened, many of them, and did not march up 
with that true courage that their cause ought to have inspired them 
with." — Chester's Letter- 

2 It was surprising to see how they would step over their dead bodies, 
as though they had been logs of wood.' — Rivington's Gazette. 

3 Swett's History ; Committee of Safety. 


Charlestown, in the mean time, had been set on fire in the 
square, by shells thrown from Copp's Hill, and in the easterly- 
part, by a party of marines from the Somerset. As the buildings 
were chiefly of wood, the conflagration spread with great rapidity. 
And now ensued one of the greatest scenes of war that can be 
conceived. To fill the eye, — a brilliantly appointed army ad- 
vancing to the attack and storming the works, supported by co- 
operating ships and batteries ; the blaze of the burning town, 
coursing whole streets or curling up the spires of public edifices ; 
the air above filled with clouds of dense black smoke, and the 
surrounding hills, fields, roofs and steeples, occupied by crowds of 
spectators ; to fill the ear, — the shouts of the contending armies, 
the crash of the falling buildings, and the roar of the cannon, 
mortars and musketry ; to fill the mind, — the high courage of 
men staking not only their lives, but their reputation, on the un- 
certain issue of a civil war, and the intense emotions of the near 
and dear connections standing in their presence ; and, on the other 
side, the reflection that a defeat of the regulars would be a final 
loss to British empire in America.' And yet, in strange contrast 
to this terrific scene, the day was calm and clear, — nature in its 
beauty and repose smiling serenely upon it all, as if in token of 
the triumphant end of the great conflict. 

The burning of the town neither intimidated the Americans 

] Burgoyne's Letter : Hon. Daniel Webster, in N. American Review, 
vol. vii., p^ 226. The descriptions of this terrific scene are numerous. 
" A complication of horror and importance beyond anything that ever 
came to my lot to witness." — Burgoyne. "Sure I am nothing ever 
has or can be more dreadfully terrible than what was to be seen or 
heard at this time. The most incessant discharge of guns that ever 
was heard with mortal ears," &c. — Letter, June 24. 

An eulogy on General Warren, printed in 1781, contains the fol- 
lowing: — 

" Amazing scene ! what shuddering prospects rise ! 

What horrors glare beneath the angry skies ? 

The rapid flames o'er Charlestown's height ascend, — 

To heaven they reach ! urged by the boisterous wind. 

The mournful crash of falling domes resound, 

And tottering spires with sparkles seek the ground. 

One general burst of ruin reigns o'er all ; 

The burning city thunders to its fall ! 

O'er mingled noises the vast ruin sounds, 

Spectators weep ! earth from her centre groans ! 

Beneath prodigious unextinguished fires, 

Ill-fated Charlestown welters and expires. 


nor covered the attack on their lines. The wind directed the 
smoke so as to leave a full view of the approach of the British 
columns, which kept firing as they advanced. Colonels Brewer, 
Nixon, and Buckminister were wounded, and Major Moore was 
mortally wounded. In general, however, the balls of the British 
did but little execution, as their aim was bad, and the intrench- 
ments protected the Americans. At length, at the prescribed 
distance, the fire was again given, which, in its fatal impartiality, 
prostrated whole ranks of officers and men. The enemy stood 
the shock, and continued to advance with great spirit : but the 
continued stream of fire that issued from the whole American 
line was even more destructive than before. General Howe, op- 
posite the rail fence, was in the hottest of it. Two of his aids, 
and other officers near him, were shot down, and at times he was 
left almost alone. His officers were seen to remonstrate and to 
threaten, and even to prick and strike the men to urge them on. 
But it was in vain. The British were compelled again to give 
way, and they retreated even in greater disorder than before, — 
many running towards the boats. The ground in front of the 
American works was covered with the killed and the wounded. 

So long a time elapsed before the British came up again, that 
some of the officers thought they would not renew the attack. 
General Putnam was on Bunker Hill and in the rear of it, urging 
forward the reinforcements. Much delay occurred in marching 
these to the field. Indeed, great confusion existed at Cambridge. 
General Ward was not sufficiently supplied with staff officers to 
bear his orders ; and some were neglected, and others were given 
incorrectly. Henry Knox, afterwards General Knox, aided as a 
volunteer during the day, and was engaged in reconnoitre service 
Late in the day General Ward dispatched his own regiment 
Patterson's and Gardner's, to the battle-field. Col. Gardner ar 
rived on Bunker Hill, when Putnam detained a part of his regi 
ment to labor on the works commenced there, while one com 
pany, under Captain Josiah Harris, took post at the rail fence 
Part of a regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Ward, arrived at a 
critical time of the battle. Other regiments, from various causes, 
failed to reach the lines. Major Gridley, of the artillery, inade- 
quate to his position, with part of the battalion, marched a short 
distance on Cambridge road, then halted, and resolved to cover 
the retreat, which he thought to be inevitable. Col. Frye, fresh 


from the battle, urged him forward ; but Gridley, appalled by the 
horrors of the scene, ordered his men to fire at the Glasgow and 
batteries from Cobble Hill. He also ordered Colonel Mansfield 
to support him with his regiment, who, violating his orders, 
obeyed. Captain Trevett, however, disobeyed his superior, led 
his company, with two field-pieces, to Bunker Hill, where he lost 
one of them, but drew the other to the rail fence. Colonel Scam- 
mans was ordered to go where the fighting was, and went to 
Lechmere's Point. Here he was ordered to march to the hill, 
which he understood to mean Cobble Hill, whence he sent a 
messenger to General Putnam to inquire whether his regiment 
was wanted. This delay prevented it from reaching the field in 
season to do any good. A part of Gerrish's regiment, under 
Mighil, marched from Cambridge to Ploughed Hill, where Adju- 
tant Christian Febiger, a gallant Danish soldier who had seen 
service, took the command, called upon the men to follow him, 
and reached the heights in season to render valuable service. 
Three additional Connecticut companies, at least, under Captains 
Chester, Clark, and Coit, arrived in time to take part in the battle ; 
as did also Major Durkee, an old comrade of General Putnam's. 
Captain Chester marched on near the close of the engagement, 
while the British were coming up the third time. Three regi- 
ments were near him when he left Cambridge, which hastened 
forward in advance of his company ; but when Chester overtook 
them, at Bunker Hill, there was hardly a company in any kind 
of order.' The men had scattered behind rocks, hay-cocks, and 
apple-trees. Parties, also, were continually retreating from the 
field ; some alleging they had left the fort with leave because 
they had been all night and day on fatigue without sleep or re- 
freshment ; some that they had no officers to lead them ; fre- 
quently, twenty were about a wounded man, when not a quarter 
part could help him to advantage ; while others were going off 
without any excuse. Chester obliged one company, rank and 
file, to return to the lines. 

While such was the confusion on Bunker Hill, good order pre- 
vailed at the redoubt. Colonel Prescott remained, at his post, 
determined in his purpose, undaunted in his bearing, inspiring 
his command with hope and confidence, and yet chagrined, that, 
in this hour of peril and glory, adequate support had not reached 
him. He passed round the lines to encourage his men, and as- 


sured them that if the British were once more driven back they 
could not be rallied again. His men cheered him as they re- 
plied, " We are ready for the red coats again !" But his worst 
apprehensions, as to ammunition, were realized, as the report 
was made to him that a few artillery cartridges constituted the 
whole stock of powder on hand. He ordered them to be opened, 
and the powder to be distributed. He charged his soldiers " not 
to waste a kernel of it, but to make it certain that every shot 
should tell." He directed the few who had bayonets to be sta- 
tioned at the points most likely to be scaled. They were the only 
preparations it was in his power to make to meet his powerful 

General Howe, exasperated at the repeated repulses of his 
troops, resolved to make another assault. Some of his officers 
remonstrated against this decision, and averred that it would be 
downright butchery to lead the men on again ; but British honor 
was at stake, and other officers preferred any sacrifice rather than 
suffer defeat from a collection of armed rustics. The boats 
were at Boston ; there was no retreat ; — " Fight, conquer, or 
die !" was their repeated exclamation. A second reinforcement, 
of four hundred marines, under Major Small, had landed ; and 
General Clinton, who had witnessed from Copp's Hill the dis- 
comfiture of the British veterans, and saw two regiments on the 
beach in confusion, threw himself into a boat, crossed the river, 
joined General Howe as a volunteer, and rendered essential aid 
in rallying the troops. The latter had lost their confident air, 
appeared disheartened, and manifested great reluctance to march- 
ing up a third time. The officers, at length, formed them for 
the last desperate assault. The British general had learned to 
respect his enemy, and adopted a wiser mode of attack. He 
ordered the men to lay aside their knapsacks, to move forward in 
column, to reserve their fire, to rely on the bayonet, to direct 
their main attack on the redoubt, and to push the artillery forward 
to a position that would enable it to rake the breastwork. The gal- 
lant execution of these orders reversed the fortunes of the day. 

General Howe, whose fine figure and gallant bearing were 
observed at the American lines, led the grenadiers and light- 
infantry in front of the breastwork, while Generals Clinton and 
Pigot led the extreme left of the troops to scale the redoubt. 


A demonstration only was made against the rail fence. A party 
of Americans occupied a few houses and barns that had escaped 
the conflagration on the acclivity of Breed's Hill, and feebly an- 
noyed the advancing columns. They, in return, only discharged 
a few scattering guns as they marched forward. On their right 
the artillery soon gained its appointed station, enfiladed the line 
of the breastwork, drove its defenders into the redoubt for pro- 
tection, and did much execution within it by sending their balls 
through the passage-way. All this did not escape the keen and 
anxious eye of Prescott. When he saw the new dispositions of 
his antagonist, the artillery wheeling into its murderous position, 
and the columns withholding their fire, he well understood his in- 
tention to concentrate his whole force on the redoubt, and believed 
that it must inevitably be carried. He thought, however, that 
duty, honor, and the interest of the country, required that it 
should be defended to the last extremity, although at a certain 
sacrifice of many lives. In this trying moment he continued to 
give his orders coolly. Most of his men had remaining only one 
round of ammunition, and few more than three rounds, and he 
directed them to reserve their fire until the British were within 
twenty yards. At this distance a deadly volley was poured upon 
the advancing columns, which made them waver for an instant, 
but they sprang forward without returning it. The American 
fire soon slackened for want of means, while the columns of 
Clinton and Pigot reached a position on the southern and eastern 
sides of the redoubt, where they were protected by its walls. It 
was now attacked on three sides at once. Prescott ordered those 
who had no bayonets to retire to the back part of it, and fire on 
the enemy as they showed themselves on the parapet. A soldier 
of noble bearing mounted the southern side, and had barely 
shouted, " The day is ours !" when he was shot down, and the 
whole front rank shared his fate. 1 But the defenders had spent 

1 Letter, June 22, 1775. A newspaper of 1775 states that young 
Richardson, of the Royal Irish, was the first to mount the parapet. In 
Clark's Narrative it is stated that the remains of a company of the 63d 
regiment of grenadiers were the first that succeeded in entering the 
redoubt. After Captain Horseford had been wounded, and Lieutenant 
Dalrymple had been killed, a sergeant took the command, made a 
speech to the few men left, saying, "We must either conquer or die," 
and entered the works. General Gage recommended the brave sergeant 
for promotion. — 2d Edition, p. 33. 


their ammunition, — another cannon cartridge furnishing the 
powder for the last muskets that were fired ; and its substitute, 
stones, revealed their weakness, and filled the enemy with hope . 
The redoubt was soon successfully scaled. General Pigot, by 
the aid of a tree, mounted a corner of it, and was closely fol- 
lowed by his men, when one side of it literally bristled with 
bayonets. The conflict was now carried on hand to hand. Many 
stood and received wounds with swords and bayonets. But the 
British continued to enter, and were advancing towards the 
Americans, when Colonel Prescott gave the order to retreat. 

When the Americans left the redoubt, the dust arising from 
the dry, loose dirt, was so great that the outlet was hardly visible, 
Some ran over the top, and others hewed their way through the 
enemy's ranks. Prescott, among the last to leave, was surrounded 
by the British, who made passes at him with the bayonet, which 
he skilfully parried with his sword. " He did not run, but step- 
ped long, with his sword up," escaping unharmed, though his 
banyan and waistcoat were pierced in several places. The re- 
tiring troops passed between two divisions of the British, one of 
which had turned the north-eastern end of the breastwork, and 
the other had come round the angle of the redoubt ; but they 
were too much exhausted to use the bayonet effectually, and the 
combatants, for fifteen or twenty rods from the redoubt, were so 
mingled together that firing would have destroyed friend and foe. 
The British, with cheers, took possession of the works, but im- 
mediately formed, and delivered a destructive fire upon the 
retreating troops. Warren, at this period, was killed, and left 
on the field ; Gridley was wounded ; Bridge was again wounded ; 
and the loss of the Americans was greater than at any previous 
period of the action. Colonel Gardner, leading on a part of his 
regiment, was descending Bunker Hill, when he received his 
death wound. Still his men, under Major Jackson, pressed for- 
ward, and with Cushing's, Smith's, and Washburn's companies, 
of Ward's regiment, and Febiger's party, of Gerrish's regiment, 
poured between Breed's Hill and Bunker Hill a well directed 
fire upon the enemy, and gallantly covered the retreat. 

In the mean time the Americans at the rail fence, under Stark, 
Reed, and Knowlton, reinforced by Clark's, Coit's, and Chester's 
Connecticut companies, Captain Harris' company, of Gardner's 


regiment, Lieutenant-colonel Ward, and a few troops, maintained 
their ground with great firmness and intrepidity, and successfully- 
resisted every attempt to turn their flank. This line, indeed, was 
nobly defended. The force here did a great service, for it saved 
the main body, who were retreating in disorder from the redoubt, 
from being cut off by the enemy. When it was perceived at the 
rail fence that the force under Colonel Prescott had left the hill, 
these brave men " gave ground, but with more regularity than 
could have been expected of troops who had [been no longer 
under discipline, and many of whom never before saw an en- 
gagement." The whole body of Americans were now in full 
retreat, the greater part over the top of Bunker Hill. 

The brow of Bunker Hill was a place of great slaughter. 
General Putnam here rode to the rear of the retreating troops, 
and regardless of the balls flying about him, with his sword 
drawn, and still undaunted in his bearing, urged them to renew 
the fight in the unfinished works. " Make a stand here," he ex- 
claimed ; " we can stop them yet !" " In God's name form, and 
give them one shot more !" It was here that he stood by an 
artillery piece until the enemy's bayonets were almost upon him. 
The veteran Pomeroy, too, with his shattered musket in his hand, 
and his face to the foe, endeavored to rally the men. It was 
not possible, however, to check the retreat. Captain Trevett and 
a few of his men, with great difficulty and great gallantry, drew 
off the only field-piece that was saved of the six that were in 
the action'. Colonel Scammans, with part of his regiment, and 
Captain Foster's artillery company, on their way to the field of 
battle, reached the top of Bunker Hill, but immediately retreated. 
The whole body retired over the Neck, amidst the shot from the 
enemy's ships and batteries, and were met by additional troops 
on their way to the heights. Among them Major Brooks, with 
two remaining companies of Bridge's regiment. One piece 
of cannon at the Neck opened on the enemy, and covered the 

The British troops, about five o'clock, with a parade of 
triumph, took possession of the same hill that had served them 
for a retreat on the memorable nineteenth of April. General 
Howe was here advised by General Clinton to follow up his 
success by an immediate attack on Cambridge. But the 


reception he had met made the British commander cautious, 
if not timid ; and he only fired two field-pieces upon the Amer- 
icans, who retreated to Winter Hill, Prospect Hill, and Cam- 
bridge. Similar apprehensions were entertained on both sides 
respecting the renewal of the attack ; the Americans at Win- 
ter and Prospect Hills lay on their arms, while the British, 
reinforced by additional troops from Boston, threw up during the 
night a line of breastwork on the northern side of Bunker Hill. 
Both sides, however, felt indisposed to renew the action. The 
loss of the peninsula damped the ardor of the Americans, and 
the loss of men depressed the spirit of the British. 

Colonel Prescott, indignant at the absence of support when 
victory was within his grasp, 1 repaired to head quarters, reported 
the issue of the battle, already too well known, and received the 
thanks of the commander-in-chief. He found General Ward 
under great apprehensions lest the enemy, encouraged by suc- 
cess, should advance on Cambridge, where he had neither disci- 
plined troops nor an adequate supply of ammunition to receive 
him. Colonel Prescott, however, assured him that the confidence 
of the British would not be increased by the result of the battle ; 
and he offered to retake the hill that night, or perish in the at- 
tempt, if three regiments of fifteen hundred men, well equipped 
with ammunition and bayonets, were put under his command. 
General Ward wisely decided that the condition of his army 
would not justify so bold a measure. 2 Nor was it needed to fill 
the measure of Prescott's fame. " He had not yet done enough 
to satisfy himself, though he had done enough to satisfy his 
country. He had not, indeed, secured final victory, but he had 
secured a glorious immortality." 3 

1 Judge Prescott "writes : " Colonel Prescott always thought he could 
have maintained his post with the handful of men under his command, 
exhausted as they were by fatigue and hunger, if they had been sup- 
plied with sufficient ammunition, and with bayonets. In their last 
attack the British wavered under the first fire of the Americans, and if 
it could have been continued, he felt confident they would have been 
repulsed, and would never have rallied again." 

9 Prescott's Memoir. 3 Colonel Swett's History, p. 49. 



1775. Character of the Bunker Hill Battle. — Prescott. — Putnam. — 
Warren. — Pomeroy. — Moses Parker. — Willard Moore. — Thomas 
Gardner. — Colonel Stark. — Major McClary. — Thomas Knowlton. — 
Numbers engaged. — Time of the engagement. — Losses. — British 
officers. — The Redoubt. — British criticism. — The destruction of 
the Town. 

No engagement of the revolution possesses an interest so deep 
and peculiar, or produced consequences so important, as the 
battle of Bunker Hill ; and no other engagement is involved in 
so much obscurity, perplexity, and controversy. It is remarkable 
on many accounts ; — in being the first great battle of the con- 
test ; in the astonishing resistance made by inexperienced militia 
against veteran troops ; in the affecting character of its promi- 
nent incidents ; in the sublimity of its spectacle ; and in its 
influence on the politics of the day, and the fortunes of the war. 
It proved the quality of the American soldier, drew definitely 
the lines of party, and established the fact of open war between 
the colonies and the mother country. It was a victory, with all 
the moral effect of victory, under the name of a defeat. And 
yet, at first, it was regarded with disappointment, and even with 
indignation ; and contemporary accounts of it, whether private or 
official, are rather in the tone of apology, or of censure, than of 
exultation. The enterprise, on the whole, was pronounced rash 
in the conception and discreditable in the execution ; and a severe 
scrutiny was instituted into the conduct of those who were 
charged with having contributed by their backwardness to the 
result. No one, for years, came forward to claim the honor of 
having directed it ; no notice was taken of its returning anniver- 
sary ; and no narrative did justice to the regiments that were en- 
gaged, or to the officers who were in command. Passing events 
are seldom accurately estimated. The bravery, however, of 
those who fought it was so resolute, and their self-devotion was 

1.3 \ lo- 



EL > 


so lofty, as at once to elicit, from all quarters, the most glowing 
commendation, and to become the theme of the poet and the 
orator ; and as time rolled on, its connection with the great move- 
ment of the age appeared in its true light. Hence the battle of 
Bunker Hill now stands out as the grand opening scene in the 
drama of the American Revolution. 

Such was the want of subordination and of discipline in the 
American army, that its commanding officers felt that it was not 
prepared for such a conflict. Efficient military command, in 
such a state of things, was impossible. Hence the proceedings 
throughout the day were characterized by great confusion. The 
evidence on this point, early and late, is uniform and decisive, 
and it relates both to transactions at Cambridge and at Charles- 
town. During the battle, the influence of Colonel Prescott over 
his men preserved order at his position, but in other parts of the 
field the troops fought rather in platoons, or individually, — com- 
panies entirely losing their order, — than under regular com- 
mands ; and in some instances, where superior officers attempted 
to exercise authority, their orders were openly disregarded. Even 
the orders of General Ward were but feebly carried into effect. 
Much of this delinquency must be placed at the door of in- 
efficiency on the part of some of the officers ; but much of it 
also must be ascribed to an absence of the principle of subordi- 
nation, from the generals to the lower officers. 

It is from this cause — the want of subordination, and the con- 
fusion — that it is a question whether there was a general author- 
ized commander in the battle. Had the army been fully organ- 
ized, and had the rank of the officers been established, such a 
question could not have arisen. It is not one of recent origin, 
for there was the same perplexity on this point, immediately 
after the battle, that exists now ; and inquiries in relation to it 
elicited equally unsatisfactory answers. The orderly book of 
General Ward not only is silent on it, but contains no orders for 
the conduct of the enterprise. Nor is this deficiency entirely 
supplied by any contemporary document. Yet it is from author- 
ities of this character that a correct conclusion must be drawn. 1 
They clearly warrant the decision, that the original detach- 

1 The evidence in relation to the question of command, with ad- 
ditional particulars relative to Prescott, Putnam, and Warren, may be 
found in the account of the battle in the Siege of Boston. 


ment was placed under the orders of Colonel Prescott, and 
that no general officer was authorized to command oyer him dur- 
ing the battle. He was detached on a special service, and he 
faithfully executed his orders. He filled at the redoubt, the most 
important post, the duty of a commanding officer, from the hour 
that ground was broken until the moment it was abandoned. He 
detached guards to the shores, directed the labor of the works, 
called councils of war, made applications to General Ward for 
reinforcements, posted his men for action, fought with them until 
resistance was unavailing, and gave the order to retreat. General 
officers came to this position, but they did not give him an order, 
nor interfere with his dispositions. When General Warren, for 
instance, entered the redoubt, Colonel Prescott tendered to him 
the command, but Warren replied that he had not received his 
commission, and should serve as a volunteer. " I shall be hap- 
py," he said, " to learn from a soldier of your experience.'* 
Colonel Prescott, therefore, was left in uncontrolled possession of 
his post. Nor is there any proof that he gave an order at the 
rail fence, or on Bunker Hill. But he remained at the redoubt, 
and there fought the battle with such coolness, bravery, and 
discretion, as to win the unbounded applause of his contempo- 
raries, and to deserve, through all time, the admiration and 
gratitude of his countrymen. 

General Putnam exhibited throughout that bravery and gener- 
ous devotion that formed a part of his nature. Though of 
limited education, fiery, and rough in speech, he was a true pat- 
riot, and a fine executive officer. He was in command of the 
Connecticut troops stationed in Cambridge, and shared with them 
the peril and glory of this remarkable day. In a regularly or- 
ganized army his appearance on the field, by virtue of his rank, 
would have given him the command. But it was an army of 
allies, whose jealousies had not yielded to the vital principle of 
subordination ; and he was present rather as the patriotic volun- 
teer than as the authorized general commander. He exercised 
an important agency in the battle. He was received as a welcome 
counsellor, both at the laying out of the works and during the 
morning of the engagement. Besides being in the hottest of the 
action at the rail fence and on Bunker Hill, — fighting, beyond a 
question, with daring intrepidity, — he was applied to for orders 
by the reinforcements that reached the field, and he gave orders 


without being applied to. Some of the officers not under his 
immediate command respected his authority, while others refused 
to obey him. But no service was more brilliant than that of the 
Connecticut troops, whom he was authorized to command. And 
that he was not as successful in leading the Massachusetts troops 
into action ought, in justice, to be ascribed neither to his lack of 
energy nor of conduct, but to the hesitancy of inexperienced 
troops, to the want of spirit in their officers, and to the absence 
of subordination and discipline in the army. He did not give 
an order to Colonel Prescott, nor was he in the redoubt during 
the action. 

General Warren exerted great influence in the battle. Having 
served zealously and honorably in the incipient councils that put 
in motion the machinery of the revolution, he had decided to 
devote his energies to promote it in its future battle-fields. He 
was accordingly elected major-general on the 14th of June, but 
had not received his commission on the day of the battle. Though 
he is understood to have opposed the measure of occupying so 
exposed a post as Bunker Hill, yet he avowed the intention, if 
it should be resolved upon, to share the peril of it ; and to the 
affectionate remonstrance of Elbridge Gerry he replied : Dulce 
et decorum est pro patria mori. On the 16th of June he officiated 
as president of the Provincial Congress, passed the night at 
Watertown, and though indisposed, repaired on the morning of 
the 17th to Cambridge, where he threw himself on a bed. When 
he learned that the British would attack the works on Breed's 
Hill, he declared his headache to be gone ; and, after meeting 
with the committee of safety, armed himself and went to Charles- 
town. A short time before the action commenced, he was seen 
in conversation with General Putnam, at the rail fence, who 
offered to receive his orders. General Warren declined to give 
any, but asked " Where he could be most useful ?" Putnam di- 
rected him to the redoubt, remarking, that " There he would be 
covered." " Don't think," said Warren, " I come to seek a place 
of safety ; but tell me where the onset will be most furious." 
Putnam still pointed to the redoubt. " That is the enemy's ob- 
ject, and if that can be defended the day is ours." General 
Warren passed to the redoubt, where the men received him with 
enthusiastic cheers. ..-.Here, again, he was tendered the command, 
by Colonel Prescott. But Warren declined it, — said that he 


came to encourage a good cause, and gave the cheering assur- 
ance that a reinforcement of two thousand were on their way 
to aid them. He mingled in the fight, behaved with great 
bravery, and was among the last to leave the redoubt. He 
was lingering, even to rashness, in his retreat. He had proceeded 
but a few rods, when a ball struck him in the forehead, and he 
fell to the ground. On the next day visiters to the battle-field — 
among them Dr. Jeffries and young Winslow, afterwards General 
Winslow, of Boston — recognized his body, and it was buried 
on the spot where he fell. After the British evacuated Boston, 
the sacred remains were sought after, and again identified. In 
April they were re-interred, with appropriate ceremonies, when 
Perez Morton delivered an eulogy. They were first deposited 
in the Tremont Cemetery, and subsequently in the family vault 
under St. Paul's Church, in Boston. 

Eloquence and song, the good and the great, have united in 
eulogy on this illustrious patriot and early martyr to the cause of 
the freedom of America. No one personified more completely 
the fine enthusiasm and the self-sacrificing patriotism that first 
rallied to its support. No one was more widely beloved, or was 
more highly valued. The language of the committee of safety, 
who knew his character, and appreciated his service, though 
brief, is full, touching and prophetic. " Among the dead was 
Major-general Joseph Warren ; a man whose memory will be 
endeared to his countrymen, and to the worthy in every part 
and age of the world, so long as virtue and valor shall be es- 
teemed among mankind." 

General Seth Pomeroy behaved so well in the battle, that in 
some of the accounts he is assigned a separate command. Thus 
President John Adams, in a letter, (June 19, 1818,) says : " Who 
was the first officer of Massachusetts, on Bunker Hill or Breed's 
Hill ? I have always understood, he was Colonel Pomeroy, or 
General Pomeroy. Colonel Prescott might be the most deter- 
mined, persevering, and efficacious officer of Massachusetts ; but 
Pomeroy was certainly his superior in command." General 
Pomeroy was a veteran of the French wars, as brave as he was 
patriotic. It is admitted that he also served as a volunteer. He 
requested of General Ward a horse to take him to the field, and 
one was supplied. On his arrival at Charlestown Neck, he de- 
clined to expose the horse to the severe fire that raked it, and 


coolly walked across. He joined the force at the rail fence, and 
was received with cheers. He fought with great spirit, and kept 
with the troops until the retreat. His musket was shattered by a 
ball, but he retained it, and with it continued to animate the men. 
He thought it strange that Warren, " the young and chivalrous 
soldier," says Colonel Swett, " the eloquent and enlightened legis- 
lator, should fall, and he escape, old and useless, unhurt." Soon 
after the battle, he declined, on account of age, the appointment 
of first brigadier-general of the army, but as colonel commanded 
a regiment in the Jerseys. His exposure brought on pleurisy, 
and he died at Peekskill, New York. 

Colonel Gardner was struck by a ball as he was descending 
Bunker Hill, which inflicted a mortal wound. While a party 
was carrying him off, he had an affecting interview with his son, 
a youth of nineteen, who was anxious to aid in bearing him from 
the field. His heroic father prohibited him, and he was borne on 
a litter of rails over Winter Hill. Here he was overtaken by the 
retreating troops. He raised himself on his rude couch, and ad- 
dressed to them cheering words. He lingered until July 3, when 
he died. On the 5th he was buried with the honors of war. He 
was in his fifty-second year, and had been a member of the 
General Court, and of the Provincial Congress. He was a true 
patriot, a brave soldier, and an upright man. An obituary notice 
of him in the Essex Gazette, July 13, 1775, says : " From the 
era of our public difficulties he distinguished himself as an ardent 
friend to the expiring liberties of America ; and by the unani- 
mous suffrages of his townsmen was for some years elected a 
member of the General Assembly ; but when the daring en- 
croachments of intruding despotism deprived us of a constitutional 
convention, and the first law of nature demanded a substitute, he 
was chosen one of the Provincial Congress ; in which depart- 
ments he was vigilant and indefatigable, in defeating every effort 
of tyranny. To promote the interest of his countiy was the 
delight of his soul. An inflexible zeal for freedom caused him 
to behold every engine of oppression with contempt, horror, and 
aversion." He devoted to military affairs not only a large share 
of his time, but of his fortune. His private character is highly 
eulogized. He was, " to his family kind, tender, and indulgent ; 
to his friends, unreserved and sincere. To the whole circle of 
his acquaintance, affable, condescending, and obliging ; while 


veneration for religion augmented the splendor of his sister 

Lieutenant-colonel Parker was a skilful and brave veteran of 
the French wars, and behaved with great gallantry in the action. 
A ball fractured his knee, and he was left in the redoubt. The 
British carried him a prisoner to Boston, lodged him in the jail, 
where, after the amputation of his leg, he died on the 4th of July, 
aged forty-three. He was a good officer, much beloved by his 
regiment, and his loss was severely felt. An obituary notice of 
him, — in the New England Chronicle, July 21, 1775, — says : 
" In him fortitude, prudence, humanity, and compassion, all con- 
spired to heighten the lustre of his military virtues ;" and it states, 
that " through the several commissions to which his merit entitled 
him, he had always the pleasure to find that he possessed the 
esteem and respect of his soldiers, and the applause of his coun- 
trymen." The notice concludes in the following strain : " God 
grant each individual that now is, or may be, engaged in the 
American army, an equal magnitude of soul; so shall their 
names, unsullied, be transmitted in the latest catalogue of fame ; 
and if any vestiges of liberty shall remain, their praises shall be 
rehearsed through the earth ' till the sickle of time shall crop 
the creation.' " 

Major Willard Moore was much endeared to his command, and 
the old soldiers in their depositions mention his good qualities in 
glowing terms. He was a firm patriot, and a generous and chiv- 
alrous soldier. On the second attack he received a ball in the 
thigh, and while his men were carrying him to the rear another 
ball went through his body. He called for water, but none could 
be obtained nearer than the Neck. He lingered until the time of 
the retreat, when, feeling his wounds to be mortal, he requested 
his attendants to lay him down, leave him, and take care of them- 
selves. He met with a soldier's death. He was from Paxton. 
He took a prominent part in the Worcester Convention of Jan- 
uary, 1774 ; was chosen captain of the minute-men January 17, 
1775 ; and, on the Lexington alarm, immediately marched for 

Colonel Richard Gridley, the chief engineer of the army, who 
planned the works on Breed's Hill, was a veteran of the French 
wars, and distinguished himself at the siege of Louisberg. He 
was taken ill on the morning of the 17th, after the fatigue of the 


night, and left the hill ; but returned before the action com- 
menced, and fought until the retreat, aiding in discharging one 
of the field-pieces. He was struck, near the close of the battle, 
by a ball, and entered his sulky to be carried off; but meeting 
with some obstruction, he had but just left it, when the horse was 
killed and the sulky was riddled by the enemy's shot. The vet- 
eran engineer was active in planning the fortifications that were 
thrown up immediately after the battle. He received from the 
Provincial Congress the rank of major-general ; was commis- 
sioned September 20, 1775, to take the command of the artillery 
in the continental army. In November, he was superseded by 
Colonel Knox. Washington, December 31, stated to Congress 
that no one in the army was better qualified to be chief engineer ; 
and his services were again called for, on the memorable night 
when Dorchester Heights were fortified. In 1776, after the 
British left Boston, he was entrusted with the duty of again 
throwing up works in Charlestown, and other points about the 
harbor. He died at Stoughton, June 21, 1796, aged eighty- 

Colonel Stark, the hero of Bennington, behaved with his ac- 
customed bravery. But few notices of his conduct, other than 
what have been given, appear in the accounts. The major of 
his regiment, Andrew McClary, was a favorite officer. He was 
nearly six feet and a half in height, and of an athletic frame. 
During the action he fought with great bravery ; and amidst the 
roar of the artillery his stentorian voice was heard animating the 
men, and inspiring them with his own energy. After the action 
was over, he rode to Medford to procure bandages for the wound- 
ed ; and, on his return, went with a few of his comrades to re- 
connoitre the British, then on Bunker Hill. As he was on his 
way to rejoin his men, a shot from a frigate, laying where Cragie's 
Bridge is, passed through his body. He leaped a few feet from 
the ground, pitched forward, and fell dead on his face. He was 
carried to Medford, and interred with the honors of war. He 
was, General Dearborn writes, a brave, great, and good man. A 
spirited notice of him appeared in the New Hampshire Gazette, 
dated Epsom, July, 1775. It says : " The major discovered 
great intrepidity and presence of mind in the action, and his 
noble soul glowed with ardor and the love of his country ; and, 
like the Roman Camillus, who left his plough, commanded the 


army, and conquered his opponents, so the major, upon the first 
intelligence of hostilities at Concord, left his farm and went a 
volunteer to assist his suffering brethren, where he was soon 
called to a command, which he executed to his eternal honor, 
and has thereby acquired the reputation of a brave officer and a 
disinterested patriot ; and may his name be held in respect by all 
the lovers of liberty to the end of time, while the names of the 
sons of tyranny are despised and disgraced, and nothing left to 
them but the badges of their perfidy and infamy. May the 
widow of the deceased be respected for his sake ; and may his 
children inherit his spirit and bravery, but not meet with his 

Captain Thomas Knowlton's conduct elicited high praise. He 
was a native of Boxford, Massachusetts, but while a boy removed 
to Ashford, Connecticut. He served with distinction in the 
French wars, then became a prosperous farmer ; and on his ap- 
pearing on the Lexington alarm, as a volunteer in the Ashford 
militia company, to march to the camp, was unanimously elected 
captain. General Putnam knew his merit, and selected him to 
command the fatigue party to accompany Colonel Prescott. He 
commenced the construction of the rail fence protection, and 
fought here with admirable bravery and conduct, until the retreat. 
He received from a Bostonian a gold-laced hat, a sash and gold 
breast-plate, for his behavior in this battle. Soon after, he was 
promoted ; and while major he made, January8, 1776, a daring 
and successful excursion into Charlestown, to burn several houses 
used by the British ; and as lieutenant-colonel, was the confidant 
of Washington in the enterprise of the memorable Nathan Hale. 
On the 16th of September, 1776, while exhibiting his usual in- 
trepidity, he was killed at the battle of Harlem Heights. Wash- 
ington, in the general orders, after alluding to his gallantry and 
bravery, and his fall while ' gloriously fighting,' said he " would 
have been an honor to any country." He was about thirty-six 
when he was killed. 

General Ward expressed his thanks to the troops engaged in 
this battle, in the following order, of June 24 : " The general 
orders his thanks to be given to those officers and soldiers who 
behaved so gallantly at the late action in Charlestown. Such 
bravery gives the general sensible pleasure, as he is thereby fully 
satisfied that we shall finally come off victorious, and triumph 
over the enemies of freedom in America." 


One of the companies of Gardner's regiment — Captain Josiah 
Harris' — was raised in Charlestown. Colonel Swett pays this 
company — the last to retreat — the following compliment: — 
" They were fighting at their own doors, on their own natal soil. 
They were on the extreme left, covered by some loose stones 
thrown up on the shore of the Mystic, during the day, by order 
of Colonel Stark. At this most important pass into the country, 
against which the enemy made the most desperate efforts, like 
Leonidas' band, they had taken post, and like them they defend- 
ed it till the enemy had discovered another." 

So conflicting are the authorities, that the number of troops en- 
gaged, on either side, cannot be precisely ascertained. " The 
number of the Americans during the battle," Colonel Swett says, 
" was fluctuating, but may be fairly estimated at three thousand 
five hundred, who joined in the battle, and five hundred more, 
who covered the retreat." General Putnam's estimate was twen- 
ty-two hundred. General Washington says the number engaged, 
at any one time, was fifteen hundred, and this was adopted by 
Dr. Gordon. This is as near accuracy as can be arrived at. 
General Gage, in his official account, states the British force at 
" something over two thousand," and yet the same account ac- 
knowledges one thousand and fifty-four killed and wounded. This 
certainly indicates a force far larger than two thousand. Neither 
British accounts, nor the British plans of the battle, mention all 
the regiments that were in the field. Thus, the movements of 
the second battalion of marines are not given ; yet the official 
table of loss states that it had seven killed and thirty wounded ; 
and Clarke, also, states it was not until after the Americans had 
retreated that Gage sent over this second battalion, with four regi- 
ments of foot, and a company of artillery. Americans, who 
counted the troops as they left the wharves in Boston, state that 
five thousand went over to Charlestown ; and, probably, not less 
than four thousand were actually engaged. 

The time the battle lasted is variously stated ; some accounts 
state four hours, but they include the heavy fire of artillery that 
covered the landing. The committee of safety's (MS.) account 
says : " The time the engagement lasted, from the first fire of 
the musketry till the last, was exactly one hour and a half." The 
losses of individuals in the battle were allowed by the colonies, 
and there are hundreds of petitions from the soldiers in it. 



The following is the record in General Ward's orderly book,— 
the only reference to the battle it contains, — of the loss of the 
Americans : " June 17. The battle of Charlestown was fought 
this day. Killed, one hundred and fifteen ; wounded, three hun- 
dred and five ; captured, thirty. Total, four hundred and fifty." 

They, also, lost five pieces of cannon out of six, and a large 
quantity of intrenching tools. The following table shows the loss 
sustained by each regiment, and presents a somewhat different 
result : — 

Killed. Wounded. 

Killed. Wounded, 

Prescott's, . 

. 42 . . 28 

Gridley's, . . . . 


Bridge's, . . 

. 15 . . 29 

Ward's, ... 1 . 


Frye's, . . 

. 15 . . 31 

Scammans', . . . 


Brewer's, . . 

. 7 . . 11 

Gerrish's, . . . 3 . 


Little's, . . 

. 7 . . 23 

Whitcomb's, . . 5 . 


Gardner's, . 

■ . 6 . . 7 

Stark's, . . .15 . 


Nixon's, . . 

. 3 . . 10 

Reed's, . . . 5 . 



. 1 . . 5 

Putnam &Coit Co. 11 . 


Doolittle's, . 

. . . 9 

Chester's Co., . 4 . 


Killed, 140; wound 

ed, 271 ; captured, 30. 

Some of the dead were buried on the field of battle. One de- 
posit appears to have been a trench near the line of the almshouse 
estate, running parallel with Elm-street. Here a large number of 
American buttons have been found attached to bones. Ameri- 
cans were buried in other places in Charlestown, which are known 
from similar circumstances. The wounded were carried to the 
western side of Bunker Hill, and then to Cambridge. Doctors 
Thomas' Kittredge, William Eustis, — afterwards governor, — 
Walter Hastings, Thomas Welsh, Isaac Foster, Lieutenant-colonel 
Bricket, David Townsend, and John Hart, were in attendance. 
The house of Governor Oliver, in Cambridge, known as the 
Gerry estate, was improved as a hospital. Many of the soldiers 
who died of their wounds were buried in a field in front of this 
house. Rev. Samuel Cook's house, at West Cambridge, was also 
used for a hospital. The prisoners were carried to Boston jail. 

The loss of the British was admitted, in the official account, to 
have been two hundred and twenty-six killed, eight hundred and 
twenty- eight wounded; total, one thousand and fifty-four. But 
the Americans set it as high as fifteen hundred. The wounded, 
during the whole night and the next day, were conveyed to Bos- 
ton, where the streets were filled with groans and lamentation. 
The privates who died on the field were immediately buried 


there, — " in holes," — Gage's report states. Collections of bones 
have been occasionally found on the east side of Breed's Hill, in 
digging wells or cellars, having attached to them buttons, with 
the numbers of the different regiments. " On Monday morning," 
a British account says, " all the dead officers were decently 
buried in Boston, in a private manner, in the different churches 
and churchyards there." 

A large proportion of the killed were officers, and among them 
some highly distinguished. Lieutenant-colonel Abercrombie, at 
the head of the grenadiers, was shot while storming the works. 
He was a brave and noble-hearted soldier ; and when the men 
were bearing him from the field, he begged them to spare his old 
friend Putnam. " If you take General Putnam alive," he said, 
" don't hang him ; for he's a brave man." He died on the 24th 
of June. 

Major Pitcairn, the commander of the marines, was widely 
known in the country from his connection with the events of the 
nineteenth of April, and many of the Americans claim the honor 
of having killed him in this battle. Dr. John Elliot wrote in his 
almanac the following account of his fall : " This amiable and 
gallant officer was slain entering the intrenchments. He had 
been wounded twice ; then putting himself at the head of his 
forces, he faced danger, calling out ' Now for the glory of the 
marines !' He received four balls in his body." He was much 
beloved by his command. " I have lost my father," his son ex- 
claimed as he fell. " We have all lost a father," was the echo 
of the regiment. His son bore him to a boat, and then to a house 
in Prince-street, Boston, where he was attended by a physician, 
at the special request of General Gage, but soon died. He was 
a courteous and accomplished officer, and an exemplary man. 
His son was soon promoted. 

Major Spendlove, of the forty-third regiment, another distin- 
guished officer, died of his wounds. He had served with un- 
blemished reputation, upwards of forty years, in the same regi- 
ment, and been three times wounded, — once when with Wolfe 
on the Plains of Abraham, again at the reduction of Martinico, 
and at the capture of Havana. His conduct at the battle was 
favorably mentioned by the commander. Other officers of merit 
fell. Captain Addison, related to the author of the Spectator, 


and Captain Sherwin, Howe's aid-de-camp, were killed. The 
slaughter of officers occasioned great astonishment in England. 

Of the officers who acted as aids to General Howe, all were 
wounded, and only one of them, Lieutenant Page, of the engi- 
neers, lived to reach England.' He distinguished himself at the 
storming of the redoubt, and made the fine plan of the battle that 
was the first correct one engraved in England, and is now first 
engraved in this country for this work. 

The British officers describe the redoubt as having been so 
strong that it must have been the work of several days. One 
says : " The fortification on Bunker Hill must have been the 
work of some days ; it was very regular, and exceeding strong." 2 
A plan of it appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine, which is 
here presented as a curious memorial of the battle. It is called 
"Plan of the Redoubt and Intrenchment on the Heights of 
Charlestown, (commonly called Bunker's Hill,) opposite Boston, 
in New England, attacked and carried by his majesty's troops, 
June 17, 1775." 

The Gentleman's Magazine says : " This redoubt was well 
executed. In the only side on which it could be attacked were 
two pieces of cannon. In the two salient angles were two trees, 
with their branches projecting off the parapet, to prevent an entry 
being made on the angles. The two flanks (A and B) of the 
intrenchment were well contrived, as the fire from them crossed 
within twenty yards of the face of the redoubt. The flank C 
sufficiently secures its face ; and the bastion D, with its flanks E 

1 The London Chronicle, January 11, 1776. — A few days ago arrived 
in town, from Boston, Lieutenant Page, of his majesty's corps of engi- 
neers, on account of the wounds he received the 17th of June, in the 
action of Charlestown. This gentleman is the only one now living of 
those who acted as aids-de-camp to General Howe, so great was the 
slaughter of officers that day. He particularly distinguished himself 
in the storming of the redoubt, for which he received General Howe's 

2 This letter, Boston, June 22, says: "The fortification on Bunker 
Hill must have been the work of some days ; it was very regular, and 
exceeding strong, insomuch that here the rebels thought themselves 
secure from danger, and sure of success in destroying the town of Bos- 
ton, which they had determined to do. Here they reserved their fire 
till our noble troops were almost under their ramparts, and stubbornly 
opposed them. Had the rebels gained the day, the town of Boston 
could not have stood long." 



and B, is the best defence against such troops as might endeavor 
to pass or cut down the fence." 

Yards on a scale of 50 to an inch. Very deep hollow way. 

General Dearborn says : " It was a square redoubt, the cur- 
tains of which were about sixty or seventy feet in extent, with an 
intrenchment of breastwork extending fifty or sixty feet from the 
northern angle, towards Mystic River. In the course of the night 
the ramparts had been raised to the height of six or seven feet, 
with a small ditch at their base ; but it was yet in a rude, imper- 
fect state." It was not made entirely of earth. No small quan- 
tity of fascines were used in its construction, — all that were 
carried on. Some of the soldiers are minute on this point in 
their depositions. The engraving in the Gentleman's Magazine, 
however, is probably incorrect. 1 

1 According to the most accurate plan of the Town of 1775, (Page's) 

the whole of the Redoubt lay between the Monument and Concord 

street. The Monument stands where the south-eastern corner of the 

Redoubt was. 

The Rail Fence breastwork commenced about the centre of the square 


General Howe, it was conceded even by his enemies, behaved 
with great bravery through the whole battle. Of the notices of 
him in the British journals, I select the following : " General 
Howe, during the whole engagement on the 17th of June last, 
was in the most imminent danger ; and Mr. Evans, an English 
servant, who went over with him, could not be prevailed on to 
quit him till the whole of the action was over. Evans attended 
the whole time with wine and other necessaries for the refresh- 
ment of the general and those about him ; during which, Evans 
had one of the bottles in his hands dashed to pieces, and got a 
contusion on one of his arms at the same time, by a ball from 
some of the provincials." 

General Clinton's services were highly commended, and great 
influence was ascribed to his advise. Few details, however, are 
mentioned of his conduct, besides his rally of the troops for the 
third attack, and his advice to follow up the victory by a close 
pursuit. The same remark may be made of General Pigot. 
General Gage attributed " the success of the day, in a great 
measure, to his firmness and gallantry." 

The wanton destruction of the Town excited indignation in the 
colonies and sympathy in England. The tories had long pre- 
dicted that places which took a rebellious part against the mother 
country would be destroyed, and that destruction would begin at 
the seaport towns. No town during the ten year's controversy 
that preceded the commencement of hostilities, had acted a bolder 
part in support of the patriot cause than Charlestown. The 
threats of the British general, and the removal from it, have been 
stated. A few citizens remained in it up to the hour of the bat- 
tle. While the British were embarking, Rev. John Martin, who 
fought bravely in the action, and was with the troops all 'night, 
left Breed's Hill, went to Charlestown Ferry, and with a spy- 
glass — Dr. Stiles writes — " viewed the shipping, and observed 
their preparations of floating batteries, and boats filling with sol- 
diers. There were now in Charlestown a considerable number 
of people — one hundred or two hundred, or more, men and 
women — not yet removed, though the body of the people and 

formed by Hancock, Green, Bunker Hill, and Elm streets, and ran 
through the New Burying-ground to the river. Elm street at that time 
was a mere pathway, and ran more diagonally than it does now. A 
fence along this pathway was used in making this slight defence. 


effects were gone. While he called in at a house for a drink of 
water, a cannon ball from the shipping passed through the house. 
He persuaded the inhabitants to depart, but they seemed reluc- 
tant. He assured them that it would be warm work that day." 
He returned to the hill, but soon, about noon, went down again. 
"Mr. Cary and son," he says, — "still at their own house, — 
urged him to take some refreshment and rest, as he had been fa- 
tigued all night. He lay down at Mr. Cary's about ten minutes, 
when a ball came through the house. He rose and returned, 
when the town evacuated with all haste." Advertisements in the 
journals indicate that furniture was carried out on this day. 

Gordon remarks, correctly, that General Gage had for some 
time resolved upon burning the town when the Americans raised 
works on any of the hills within its limits. Though he states 
that the British were not hurt by the fire of musketry from the 
houses, yet the statement of General Burgoyne, that the Ameri- 
cans fired upon them from buildings and fences, is confirmed by 
many of the depositions of the soldiers. He writes of the British 
columns as they were moving to the attack : " They were also 
exceedingly hurt by musketry from Charlestown, though Clinton 
and I did not perceive it till Howe sent us word by a boat, and 
desired us to set fire to the town, which was immediately done ; 
we threw a parcel of shells, and the whole was immediately in 
flames." William Cochran, (August 16, 1775,) stated, under 
oath, as follows : " In regard to what I know of setting fire to 
Charlestown, on the 17th of June, is — I was on Copp's Hill, at 
the landing of the troops in Charlestown ; and about one hour 
after the troops were landed, orders came down to set fire to the 
town, and soon after a carcass was discharged from the hill, 
which set fire to one of the old houses, just above the ferry- ways ; 
from that the meeting-house and several other houses were set 
on fire by carcasses ; and the houses at the eastern end of the 
town were set on fire by men landed out of the boats." 

The authorities vary as to the precise time when the fire was 
set — some stating that it was before the British moved to the at- 
tack, and others that it was at four o'clock. But it was certainly 
burning on the second attack. The smoke was seen at a great 
distance. " Terrible indeed was that scene," — a letter from 
Salem reads, — " even at our distance. The western horizon in 
the day-time was one huge body of smoke, and in the evening a 


continued blaze ; and the perpetual sound of cannon and vollies 
of musketry worked up our imaginations to a high degree of 
fright." The houses within the peninsula, with the exception of 
a few in the neighborhood of Mill-street, were entirely consumed. 
The number of buildings was estimated at about four hundred ; 
and the loss of property at .£117,982 5s. 2d. 1 Some of the pro- 
perty secreted was found by the British, while much of it was 
recovered by the owners on the evacuation of the town. Many 
from Boston had deposited goods in this town for safe keeping, 
and these were consumed. Dr. Mather lost his library. 

The destruction naturally excited great indignation in the colo- 
nies. John Langdon, in a letter dated Philadelphia, July 3, 1775, 
writes : " The low, mean revenge and wanton cruelty of the 
ministerial sons of tyranny, in burning the pleasant town of 
Charlestown, beggars all description ; this does not look like the 
fight of those who have so long been friends, and would hope to 
be friends again, but rather of a most cruel enemy, — though we 
shall not wonder when we reflect, that it is the infernal hand of 
tyranny which always has, and ever will, deluge that part of the 
world (which it lays hold of) in blood." 

The British Annual .Register of 1775 said : " The fate of 
Charlestown was also a matter of melancholy contemplation to 
the serious and unprejudiced of all parties. It was the first settle- 
ment made in the colony, and was considered as the mother of 
Boston, — that town owing its birth and nurture to emigrants of 
the former. Charlestown was large, handsome, and well built, 
both in respect to its public and private edifices ; it contained about 
four hundred houses, and had the greatest trade of any port in 
the province, except Boston. It is said that the two ports cleared 
out a thousand vessels annually for a foreign trade, exclusive of 
an infinite number of coasters. It is now buried in ruins. Such 
is the termination of human labor, industry, and wisdom, and 
such are the fatal fruits of civil dissensions." 

1 This estimate was made by a large committee, chosen by the town 
for this purpose in March, 1776. 




■ 6 







"The History of a Town is united with, that of the Country to which 
it belongs, and with that of the ages through which it has stood." 






fDG^ 2 



The undersigned, a few years ago, prepared a series of commu- 
nications upon the history of Charlestown, intending them for the 
Bunker Hill Aurora; the advice of friends induced him to keep 
them, and add to them, until they will now appear in the more 
presumptive form of a volume. This work will be continued, so 
far as type and paper are concerned, as it has been commenced, 
as expeditiously as business engagements will permit, until the his- 
tory is brought down to the present time ; but the number of en- 
gravings that will be given must depend upon the encouragement 
it meets with. 

One great reason for choosing the mode of publication so much 
in favor with the public, — viz., in numbers, — is the hope that 
the early ones may fall into the hands of some who may have an- 
cient family manuscripts, and be willing to loan them for the pur- 
pose of making this work more complete. Communications of 
this nature will be gladly received. The undersigned is indebted 
to several for interesting papers and valuable assistance. Obliga- 
tions like these will hereafter be specially acknowledged. 

November, 1845. 

N. B. An Engraving, representing a view of the Town, intended 
for the present number, will appear in a future one ; for the beau- 
tiful representation of the McLean Asylum, the author is indebted 
to the liberality of the Trustees of that Institution. 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts. 

2 School Street, Boston. 


On page 24, for " Clapp," read " Clap." 

On page 37, for the last time " 1632 " occurs, read " 1633." 

At the foot of page 13, for " Indians," read " Northern Indians." 

There are a few other errors of minor importance. 











" The History of a Town is united with, that of the Country to which 
it helongs, and with that of the Ages through which it has stood." 










Organization of Local Government. — Boundaries. — .Admission of 
Inhabitants. — Division of Land. - - - - 49 


1630 to 1640. — The Town after the removal. — .Extracts from John 
Greene's Relation. — Fort at Moulton's Point. — Ten Hills. — » 
Spot Pond. — Summer of 1632. — Winter of 1632-3. —Wood's 
Description. — Indian Mortality. — The Great House. — A School. 
— Lovewell's Island. — ■ The Common Stinted. — The Pequod 
War. — -Indian Purchase. - - - - - 58 


Ecclesiastical History, from 1630 to 1640. — The First Church. — 
Removal to Boston. — Separation. — > John Wilson. — A new 
Church. — - Thomas James. — .Divisions. — Zechariah Symmes. — > 
Removal of Mr. James. — > Antinomian Controversy. — John Har- 
vard : his Monument. — Thomas Allen. — Church Officers. - 6? 


Notices of Early Inhabitants. - *■- - - 78 


Charlestown Two Hundred years ago. — Extent. — Cradock's Farm. 

— Fields. — Streets. — Market Place. — Town Hill. — Training 
Field. — Burial Ground. — Ferries. — The Meeting-House. — The 
Tavern. — The Watch-House. — A School-House. — The Mili- 
tary. — The Hill Fort. — The Battery. — The Poor. — Population. 

— Freemen. — Town Officers. — Voting. — Town Meetings. — By- 
Laws. — Colonial Laws. — Condition of the Citizens. — Their Pur- 
suits. -~ Trade. — Ship Building. — Fruits of Ten Years, - 89 



Fac-Simile of an Order creating a Board of Selectmen, - - 51 

Fac-Simile of Wood's Map of New England, - - - - 63 

Rev. John Wilson, 69 

View of Harvard's Monument, 77 


The undersigned, a few years ago, prepared a series of commu- 
nications upon the history of Charlestown, intending them for the 
Bunker Hill Aurora ; the advice of friends induced him to keep 
them, and add to them, until they will now appear in the more 
presumptive form of a volume. This work will be continued, so 
far as type and paper are concerned, as it has been commenced 
and as expeditiously as business engagements will permit, until the 
history is brought down to the present time ; but the number of en- 
gravings that will be given must depend upon the encouragement 
it meets with. 

One great reason for choosing the mode of publication so much 
in favor with the public, — viz. ; in numbers, — is the hope that 
the early ones may fall into the hands of some persons who may 
have ancient family manuscripts, and be willing to loan them for 
the purpose of making this work more complete. Communica- 
tions of this nature will be gladly received. The undersigned is 
indebted to several for interesting papers and valuable assistance. 
Obligations like these will hereafter be specially acknowledged. 


November. 1845. 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts. 

a School Street, Boston. 








"The History of a Town is united with, that of the Country to which 
it belongs, and with that of the Ages through which it has stood." 









1640. ■ — Charlestown Village. — Location. — Municipal Government. 
— Woburn Incorporated. — Extract from its Records. — Woburn 
Church Organized. — Thomas Carter — His Ordination. — Bounda- 
ries. — A Letter. — Final Agreement. — Land of Nod. - 105 


1640 to 1650. — Commerce. — Bounty on Wolves. — Shops. — The 
Castle. — Harvard College. —The Tide Mills. — Town Hill. — 
Rate for a School. — Petition of the Ferrymen. — Customs on 
Wines. — Case of Witchcraft. — Town Order. — A Fire. — John- 
son's Description of the Town. - - - - 113 


1650. — Mistick Side. — Settlements. — Maiden Incorporated. — 
Church Gathered. — Marmaduke Matthews — his Ordination. — 
Congregationalism. — Matthews accused — his Defence — his Con- 
fession — his Fine. — Petition in his Behalf' — his Confession to 
the Court. — Maiden Church Arraigned — its Defence — its Fine. 

— Submission of the Church. — Departure of Matthews. — Mai- 
den Ministers. - - - - - - 120 


Ecclesiastical History — 1640 to 1650. — Thomas Allen. — Theolog- 
ical Controversies. — Samuel Gorton. — The Baptists. — The 
Cambridge Platform. — Death of Thomas Allen. - - 130 


Biographical Sketches. — Increase Nowell. — Robert Sedgwick. — 
Thomas Graves. — Francis Willoughby. — Richard Russell. 134 


1650 to 1670. — Penny Ferry. — Grants of Land. — Trees. — Mans- 
field Petition. — Maiden Debts. — By-Law respecting Strangers. 

— The Poor. — Burying Hill. — Town House. — Cow Commons. 
Division of Land in 1658. — Names of the Inhabitants. — Josselyn's 
Visits to the Town. — Town Buckets. —Letter of Charles II. — 
Petition of Middlesex Artillery Company. — Grant to Charlestown. 

— Ezekiel Cheever's Petition. — Selectmen's Order respecting 
Boys. — Petition of Freemen. — Fine of John Davis. — Seating 
the People and Church Rates. - 147 


Warren Schol House. - - - - 119 

First Congregational Church. - 133 


The undersigned, a few years ago, prepared a series of commu- 
nications upon the history of Charlestown, intending them for the 
Bunker Hill Aurora; the advice of friends induced him to keep 
them, and add to them, until they will now appear in the more 
presumptive form of a volume. This work will be continued, so 
far as type and paper are concerned, as it has been commenced and 
as expeditiously as business engagements will permit, until the his- 
tory is brought down to the present time ; but the number of en- 
gravings that will be given must depend upon the encouragement it 
meets with. 

One great reason for choosing the mode of publication so much 
in favor with the public, — viz., in numbers, — is the hope that 
the early ones may fall into the hands of some persons who may 
have ancient family manuscripts, and be willing to loan them for 
the purpose of making this work more complete. Communica- 
tions of this nature will be gladly received. The undersigned is 
indebted to several for interesting papers and valuable assistance. 
Obligations like these will hereafter be specially acknowledged. 


November, 1845. 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts. 


2 School Street, Boston. 









"The History of a Town is united, with, that of the Country to which 
it "belongs, and with that of the Ages through which it has stood." 









Ecclesiastical History, 1650 to 1670. — Thomas Shepard, — his 
views on Toleration. — Baptism. — The Synod of 1662. — Increase 
of Baptists. — Thomas Gould, — -his neglect of Baptism; views 
of the Church. — Gould before the County Court, — before the 
Church. — Private Meetings. — A Church Meeting. — Baptist 
Church formed. — An Excommunication. — The Baptists and the 
General Court; their Sentence. — An Oral Theological Discus- 
sion. — The Baptists imprisoned, — their Letter from Prison, — 
petitions in their favor, — release, — removal to Boston. — The 
Quakers. — Benanuel Bowers. — Death of Zechariah Symmes. . 161 


1670 to 1686. — Ladders. — The Schools. — A Flag. — Letter of 
Selectmen. — Instructions to Selectmen. — -Indian War. — Small 
Pox. — Freemen. — Names of Inhabitants. — Fort. — Dry Dock. 

— Free School. — The Stinted Pasture. — Military Companies. 176 


Ecclesiastical History, 1670 to 1686. — Thomas Shepard. — Gal- 
leries. — Thomas Gilbert. — Election Sermon. — Joseph Browne. 

— Death of Thomas Shepard. — Thomas Shepard, Jr. — Daniel 
Russell. — Charles Morton. - - - - - 186 


Customs of Olden Time. — Government for 1684. — Municipal Reg- 
ulations. — Sunday. — Lecture Day. — Church Services. — Bap- 
tisms. — Marriages. — Funerals. — Thanksgivings. — Holidays. 

— Rejected Festivals. — Administration of Justice. — Punish- 
ments. — Furniture. — Dress. — Foreign Trade — Home Trade. 

— Manufactures. — Money. — Post Office. — Travelling. — Slaves. 

— Progress of Society. - - - - - 196 


— ♦ — 

Charlestown Meeting House, 1783, ifii 

Stocks, _______ 207 

Pillory, _______ 208 


The undersigned, a few years ago, prepared a series of commu- 
nications upon the history of Charlestovvn, intending them for the 
Bunker Hill Aurora; the advice of friends induced him to keep 
them, and add to them, until they will now appear in the more 
presumptive form of a volume. This work will be continued, so 
far as type and paper are concerned, as it has been commenced and 
as expeditiously as business engagements will permit, until the his- 
tory is brought down to the present time ; but the number of en- 
gravings that will be given must depend upon the encouragement it 
meets with. 

One great reason for choosing the mode of publication so much 
in favor with the public, — viz., in numbers, — is the hope that 
the early ones may fall into the hands of some persons who may 
have ancient family manuscripts, and be willing to loan them for 
the purpose of making this work more complete. Communica- 
tions of this nature will be gladly received. The undersigned is 
indebted to several for interesting papers and valuable assistance. 
Obligations like these will hereafter be specially acknowledged. 


November, 1845. 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts. 

2 School Street, Boston. 









"The History of a Town is united ■with, that of the Country to which 
it "belongs, and with that of the Ages through which it has stood." 






1686 to 1692. Sir Edmund Andros. — Land Titles. — A Petition for 
Confirmation. — Grant to Charles Lidgett. — Remonstrance of the 
Town. — Joseph Lynde's Deposition. — Riots. — A May Pole. — 
Charles Morton's Sermon, — his accusation before the Council, — 
his Trial. — The Guns carried away. — Revolution of 1689. — 
Action of Charlestown. — New Government opposed — Laurence 
Hammond , — meeting of his Company , — his Address. — ■ A Press- 
gang. — Elective Rights. — Courts opposed. — Proceedings of the 
Council — Richard Sprague. — Address to the King, — comment 
on it. — A second Address : comment on it. — Fines of the County 
Court. — Submissions. — Morton's Letter. - - - 216 


1692 to 1764. — Witchcraft. — Cary's Narrative. — Attack on Billeri- 
ca. — Col. Lynde's Expedition. — Town Expenses. — Execution 
in Charles River. — Town Clock. — School House Controversy. — 
New Meeting House. — The Lecture Hour. — Bridge over Charles 
River. — Inoculation. — Fire Engine. — Insurance Office. — Stone- 
ham. — Paving. — Town's Income. — Ministerial House. — Court 
House. — Riot. — Illumination. — Burglary. — Punishment. — The 
Town in 1741. — A Potter's Kiln. — A Comet. — Bounty to Sol- 
diers. — Sale of Pews. — Forestallers. — Private School. — Slaves. 
— Small Pox. — A Spinning School. — Fish Market. — French 
Neutrals. — Impressment. — An Execution. — Minister's Salary. 237 


Page 145, fifth line from bottom, for " Whitney" read " Whiting." 
Page 221, fifteenth line from top, for " execution," read " exaction" 


The undersigned, a few years ago, prepared a series of commu- 
nications upon the history of Charlestown, intending them for the 
Bunker Hill Aurora; the advice of friends induced him to keep 
them, and add to them, until they will now appear in the more 
presumptive form of a volume. This work will be continued, so 
far as type and paper are concerned, as it has been commenced and 
as expeditiously as business engagements will permit, until the his- 
tory is brought down to the present time ; but the number of en- 
gravings that will be given must depend upon the encouragement it 
meets with. 

One great reason for choosing the mode of publication so much 
in favor with the public, — viz., in numbers, — is the hope that 
the early ones may fall into the hands of some persons who may 
have ancient family manuscripts, and be willing to loan them for 
the purpose of making this work more complete. Communica- 
tions of this nature will be gladly received. The undersigned is 
indebted to several for interesting papers and valuable assistance. 
Obligations like these will hereafter be specially acknowledged. 


November, 1845. 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts. 

2 School Street, Boston. 








" The History of a Town is united ■with, that of the Country to which 
it belongs, and with that of the Ages through -which it has stood." 




1764 to 1771. The Revolution and the Towns. — Acts of Trade. — 
Stamp Act. — Riots in Boston. — Proceedings of the Town. — Re* 
peal of the Stamp Act. — The Indemnity Question. — Acts of 
1767. — Non-Importation Policy. — Boston Convention. — Day of 
Fasting. — Domestic Manufactures. — Ninety-two and Forty-five. 

— Opposition to Bishops. — Renewal of the Non-Importation 
Agreement. — Proceedings in relation to Tea. - - 269 


1771 to 1774. The Contest in 1771. — Edward Sheaffe's Letter. — 
Military Parade. — Boston Letter. — Instructions to Representa- 
tive. — Reply to Boston. — The Tea and East India Company. — 
Town Meeting. — Resolves. — Destruction of the Tea. — Petition 
for a Town Meeting. — Agreement of Tea Dealers. — Resolves. — 
Burning of Tea. - - - - - - 284 


1774 to 1775. The Contest in 1774. — Boston Port Bill, — its effect 
on Charlestown. — Resolve of the General Court. — Donations. — 
Committee of Correspondence. — Letter to Falmouth. — Town 
Meeting. — Letter to Boston. — Removal of the Powder. — The 
People at Cambridge. — Alarm of the Country. — Submissions. 

— Removing the Guns. — Letter to Sharon and Salisbury. — Re- 
solves of Provincial Congress. — Reading Contribution. — Com- 
mittee on . Donations. — Town Meetings. — Close of Corporate 
Action. - - - - - - - 296 

— ♦ — 

Attempt to land a Bishop, _____ 279 

Petition of Citizens in 1773, - -290 

Attempt to force the Duty on Tea, _ _ _ _ 295 


The undersigned, a few years ago, prepared a series of commu- 
nications upon the history of Charlestown, intending them for the 
Bunker Hill Aurora; the advice of friends induced him to keep 
them, and add to them, until they will now appear in the more 
presumptive form of a volume. This work will be continued, so 
far as type and paper ar econcerned, as it has been commenced, and 
as expeditiously as business engagements will permit, until the his- 
tory is brought down to the present time ; but the number of en- 
gravings that will be given must depend upon the encouragement it 
meets with. 

One great reason for choosing the mode of publication so much 
in favor with the public, — viz., in numbers, — is the hope that 
the early ones may fall into the hands of some persons who may 
have ancient family manuscripts, and be willing to loan them for 
the purpose of making this work more complete. Communica- 
tions of this nature will be gladly received. The undersigned is 
indebted to several for interesting papers and valuable assistance. 
Obligations like these will hereafter be specially acknowledged. 


November, 1845. 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts. 

2 School Street, Boston. 












" The History of a Town is united with that of the Country to which 
it helongs, and with that of the Ages through which it has stood." 






1775. Military Preparations* — The Alarm Lists. — Marches of Troops! 
into the Country. — Massachusetts declared to be in Rebellion. — 
General Gage resolves to destroy the Stores; — The British Officers. — 
Richard Deven's relation* — Expedition to Concord. — Firing near 
Prospect Hill. — Events in Chaflestown. — Entrance by the Troops. — 
Distress of the Inhabitants. — Jacob Rogers Petition. — Assembling 
of an Army. — Charlestown threatened, and distress of the Inhabi- 
tants. — Their Removal.— - Fortifications. — Exchange of prisoners. — 
Resolve to occupy Bunker Hill. — Description of Charlestown. - 3131 


1775. Breed's Hill occupied. — Cannonade of the British. — They land 
at Moulton's Point — American defences* — Bunker Hill Battle* - 327 


1775. Character of the Bunker Hill Battle*— Prescott,— Putfiam. — 
Warren* — Pomeroy* — Moses Parker. — Willard Moore* —Thomas 
Gardner. — Colonel Stark. — Major McClary. — Thomas Knowlton*— - 
Numbers engaged. — Time of the Engagement. — Losses. — British 
officers. — The Redoubt.— British Criticism. — The destruction of 
the Town* - ± ■= ^ * ± *= * 853 


Cannonade in the Bunker Hill Battle^ --.--.«-* 340 

British Plan of the Redoubt* ------- 365 

View of Charlestown in 1775, - 313 

Page's Plan of Bunker Hill Battle, - - - - * - 327 

N O T I C E 

The undersigned* a few years ago, prepared a series of com* 
niunications upon the history of Charlestown, intending them for 
the Bunker Hill Aurora ; the advice of friends induced him to 
keep them, and add to them, until they will now appear in the 
more presumptive form of a volume. This work will be contin- 
ued, so far as type and paper are concerned, as it has been com- 
menced, and as expeditiously as business engagements will permit* 
until the history is brought down to the present time ; but the 
number of engravings that will be given must depend upon the 
encouragement it meets with., 

One great reason for choosing the mode of publication so much 
in favor with the public-, — viz>, in numbers, — is the hope that 
the early ones may fall into the hands of some persons who may 
have ancient family manuscripts, and be willing to loan them for 
the purpose of making this work more complete. Communica- 
tions of this nature will be gladly received. The undersigned is 
indebted to several for interesting papers and valuable assistance* 
Obligations like these will hereafter be specially acknowledged. 

November) 1845. 

Entered According to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, 


in the Clerk's office of th6 District Court for the District of Massachusetts* 

S3 School Street Boston. 







temgtcn, €oncori, anh Bunker $i 



With Illustrative Documents. 


The above work, an octavo volume of 420 pages, con* 
tains a full detail of the military transactions that occurred 
in 1775 and 1776, in the vicinity of Boston. 

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